​Register for Trails & Trilliums

Online registration is now open for the 14th annual Trails & Trilliums festival, April 7–9, at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly. All proceeds benefit the Friends of South Cumberland.

This year promises to be one of the best yet, with 23 guided hikes, programs and workshops being offered throughout the weekend, including complimentary shuttle service to and from most hike trailheads. Many hikes and programs will fill up quickly, so please register early to reserve your place in these activities.
Friday evening’s ART for the PARK gala gives you a first look at the dozens of original artworks by area artists. This year’s gala is themed ”This Land is Your Land,” and your admission includes include a casual dinner with beer and wine bars. Proceeds from art sales also benefit the Friends of South Cumberland State Park.
Saturday evening’s Wine & Wildflowers celebration gives you an opportunity to meet, greet and mingle over wine and appetizers and to honor the 2017 Trails and Trilliums Tribute Award winner, the Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition, for their work in helping the Friends protect the new Denny Cove area of South Cumberland State Park. Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath will keynote the evening’s program with Appalachian storytelling.

For more information and registration options, go to www.trailsandtrilliums.org/registration.html.

​Rotary Hosts Cajun Supper March 4

The Monteagle Sewanee Rotary Club will host its third annual Cajun Supper, 4:30–6:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4, in Claiborne Hall at Otey Memorial Parish.

Live music by the Bazzania band will provide a festive atmosphere while diners or take-out patrons can enjoy Cajun crawfish etoufee or vegetarian red beans and rice. Draft beer will be served on-site for the 21 and older patrons.
Tickets are $20 each, $10 for students age 12-22 and children under 12 eat free. Tickets are available from Monteagle Sewanee Rotary Club members or online at , and at the door.
Proceeds from the Cajun Supper are used for international humanitarian service projects. One project, Heart 2 Heart, is an American/Mexican Rotary Club cooperative effort. Our club partners with other US clubs, and clubs in Mexico’s District 4170 to support two signature projects: water tank systems for grade schools and the Holtz-Beahon Kidney Transplant Program. District 4170 is in the central part of Mexico and includes the Mexico City metropolitan area and several hundred square miles of adjacent rural areas.
The Monteagle Sewanee Rotary also supports the Sewanee Haiti Initiative. Last year the club donated $2,500 to the project.
“This fund was so important for helping us support five research interns who worked with four Haitian technicians and 30 Haitian families in two villages to conduct agroecological research,” said Deb McGrath, professor of biology. “The research is aimed at better understanding the farming systems so we can find other strategies, in addition to coffee, that work for all households. While Sewanee internships pay the student researchers a weekly stipend, the cost of round trip airfare, in-country transport and room and board in Haiti consume a significant amount of this. The Rotary club gift allowed us to give each intern $400 towards their plane ticket. The students have been very devoted to the project, returning over several summer/spring breaks.”
“This year, Duncan Pearce (Biology) and Peter Davis (Natural Resources) will graduate using their work in Haiti as the basis for the senior Honors Theses and Capstone projects. In this way, they leave a base from which future interns can learn about and build upon our work in Haiti. The remaining $500 from the Rotary gift was used to help farmers in Bois Jolie stock their nursery with tree seedlings.”

​Community Chest Within $19,100 of Goal

Since 1908, the goal of the Sewanee Community Chest (SCC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been to provide crucial support to community initiatives annually. The SCC is raising money for basic needs in the community such as books, food, recreational spaces, elder care, children’s programs and more. The goal is $116,850 and to date $97,750 has been donated.

For a majority of the area programs and initiatives, 20 percent or more of the SCC funds are used to maintain their yearly budgets. A majority of the funding is used to help low-income families. Some organizations would not exist without continued SCC support.
You can help: $25 will help to spay/neuter one animal through the Franklin County Humane Society program; $50 will help to buy camping gear for two Scouts; $75 will help pay one month of maintenance expenses for the Sewanee Community Center; $100 will help defray the cost of fireworks for the annual Fourth of July celebration; $250 will help to pay for a scholarship at the Children’s Center; $500 will help the Community Action Committee assist 200 households in the community; and $1,000 will help to pay for Sewanee Elementary teachers’ professional development.
Send your donation by Friday, March 10, to Sewanee Community Chest, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375. Pledges, payroll deductions and donations made in honor of or in memory of a loved one are also encouraged. For more information email sewaneecommunitychest@gmail.com, or go to sewaneecivic.wordpress.com.
Your donation supports these 26 community organizations:
Animal Alliance $1,250
Arcadia at Sewanee $1,000
Blue Monarch $1,000
Boy Scout Troop 14 $300
Community Action
Committee $10,000
Cub Scout Pack 152 $600
Folks at Home $5,000
Fourth of July Celebration $2,000
Franklin County Humane Society $3,000
Girl Scout Troop 2107 $200
Housing Sewanee $10,000
Marion Animal Resource Connection $10,000
Mt. Goat Trail Alliance $1,200
Phil White Dog Park $600
Senior Citizen’s Center $12,000
SES Parent Organization $24,200
Sewanee Angel Park $500
Sewanee Children’s Center $12,000
Sewanee Chorale $600
Sewanee Community Center $4,500
Sewanee Mountain Messenger $12,000
South Cumberland Cultural Society $800
South Cumberland Farmers’ Market $1,000
St. James/Midway Community Park $2,000
St. Mark’s Community Center $600
TigerSharks Swim Team $500

SCA Seeks Community Service Nominees

The Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) invites nominations for the 34th annual Community Service Award. The award recognizes the person or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the community. The kind of contribution varies widely, but the recipient is one who has helped make Sewanee a better place and improved the quality of life for everyone in the area.

Nominations are due by Friday, March 17. Past recipients are not eligible to receive the award again. The award will be presented at the SCA’s annual meeting, Wednesday, April 19. Send the name of your nominee, along with the reasons you are nominating this person and/or group, to sewaneecivic@gmail.com. Nominations can also be mailed to the Sewanee Civic Association, PO Box 222, Sewanee, TN 37375.
Past recipients include Mickey Suarez; GSA Allies; Pixie Dozier; Barbara Schlichting; Helen Bailey; Sewanee Youth Soccer; Dr. Matt Petrilla; Harry and Jean Yeatman; Marshall Hawkins; Karen Keele; Tom Watson; Susan Binkley and the Blue Monarch; the Sewanee Senior Center Food Pantry (Lena McBee, Sue Hawkins, Charlsie Green); George and Ruth Ramseur; Dr. John Gessel; Dora Turner; the Community Action Committee; Geraldine Hewitt Piccard and the Messenger; Myrtis Keppler; Connie Warner; Ina May Myers; Pete Green; Duval and Boo Cravens; Housing Sewanee; Arthur Ben and Betty Nick Chitty; Harry and Millie Dodd; the Sisters of St. Mary’s; Martha Dugan; Emerald-Hodgson Hospital Auxiliary; David Green; Joe David McBee; Robert Lancaster; Marcia Webb; Doug Cameron; Phoebe Bates; Marilyn Powell; and Louise Irwin.

​Bishop Reynolds Forum with Hubbard at SAS

St. Andrews-Sewanee School welcomes the public to its annual Bishop Reynolds Forum on Sunday, March 5, at 3 p.m. in McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts. This year’s speaker will be the Rev. Colenzo Hubbard, executive director of the Emmanuel Center in Memphis. Fr. Hubbard’s very timely topic, “Encouraging Others to Have a Hope and a Future,” is based on his decades of work educating and empowering at-risk youth and adults through Christian ministry. A reception will follow the talk.

A fourth generation clergyman and founding vicar of St. John’s Episcopal Church (Memphis), Father Hubbard is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was a member of the 1973 National Championship (and three SEC championships) Crimson Tide football team under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He is a founding Board Member of Promise Academy Charter School in Memphis and a founding Board Member of Memphis Opportunity Scholarship Trust.
Fr. Hubbard’s visit is made possible through The Bishop Reynolds Forum which brings a prominent speaker to the SAS campus each year to engage students and the community in a topic of current interest. The Forum was established through an endowment in memory of The Rt. Rev. George Reynolds, the late Bishop of Tennessee. A graduate and former chaplain of the Sewanee Military Academy and a former trustee and past parent at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, Bishop Reynolds was engaged by and involved with the numerous personal and social issues confronting the individual, the Church, and the society he served. In the forums of his ministry he had the courage to ask the difficult questions and the strength and openness of mind to explore the ideas that flowed from response to those questions. He was guided by the belief that thoughtful and open address of issues and conflicts created personal growth, moral strength, and sound judgement. The Forum is a creative way to honor these qualities of mind and heart and to encourage emulation of them by students of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School and the Sewanee community.
In addition to Sunday’s talk, Fr. Hubbard will preach at the all-school chapel and visit senior religion classes on Monday.

​Aiken Taylor Award Events March 1 & 2

The Sewanee Review’s annual Aiken Taylor celebration will take place on March 1 and 2 on the campus of the University of the South. Mary Ruefle is the winner of the 2017 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. Ruefle has authored 12 books of poetry, including “My Private Property” (2016) and “Trances from the Blast” (2013), as well as two collections of prose, and other writings.

On Wednesday, March 1, at 4:30 p.m., poet Michael Dickman will give a lecture in Convocation Hall on Ruefle’s poetry. Dickman’s most recent collection, “Green Migraine,” was published in 2016. At 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 2, also in Convocation Hall, University of the South Vice-Chancellor John McCardell and Sewanee Review Editor Adam Ross will present Ruefle with the award, after which she will give a reading of her work. Receptions will follow both events.
Michael Klein has said in the Los Angeles Review of Books: “[Ruefle’s work] is best enjoyed simply as a sampling of moods and thoughts from the same intelligent, delving mind, the kind of pieces one reads for questions, not for answers.” Ruefle has received numerous literary honors, including the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Whiting Award.

​2017 Hiking Challenge: Hiking in Mack’s Tracks

The Friends of South Cumberland are dedicating their 2017 Hiking Challenge, “Hiking in Mack’s Tracks,” to Mack Prichard, State Naturalist Emeritus, for all he has done to advocate for nature, both here in the South Cumberlands and at dozens of other special places all across Tennessee.

The day starts with a brunch at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Dutch Maid Bakery, Tracy City. Prichard will be our keynote speaker. The cost is $12, payable at the door. All proceeds help the Friends of South Cumberland in supporting what is now Tennessee’s largest State Park. Friends memberships will be offered that morning at a $5 discount for all who join or renew at the brunch event.
Around 11:30 a.m., participants will go to the South Cumberland Visitor Center on Highway 41 in Monteagle to catch a courtesy van out to Raven Point on the Fiery Gizzard Trail. Everyone can walk the entirely new, rerouted portion of the Gizzard Trail, and take in all the amazing trail structures and work put in by our awesome Rangers and dozens of dedicated Trail Crew volunteers during the past 18 months.
The van shuttle will return to Raven Point and bring participants back to the Visitor Center in the afternoon. It’s an opportunity to experience the re-route without the 8-mile hike-in/hike-out from Grundy Forest, and a day not to be missed.
As with last year’s challenge (“Hike into History”), there will be two ways to “Hike in Mack’s Tracks”—Our Discovery Series hikes feature family-friendly, easy-to-moderate self-guided hikes on trails in the
park that follow many of the same routes as the 1970s-era expeditions Mack organized while building support for the creation of our park. Our Adventurer Series hikes offer more challenging, Ranger-led and often off-trail hikes features generally not visible from the trails. There is both a Discovery and Adventurer version of each hike in this Challenge.

Visit the Friends’ website and MeetUp page for more hike details.

Meeting Changes

The lecture from Jody Allen, Lemon Project co-chair and managing director at the College of William and Mary, on “The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation” scheduled at 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 20, in Gailor Auditorium has been cancelled.

The Sewanee Trust for Historic Preservation meeting is at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 20, in the Adult Education Room at Otey Parish.


​Panelists Discuss Farm Life and Challenges

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

Protein was the main topic, but regional farmers also delved into environmental stewardship, healthy livestock and a variety of other topics in a panel discussion on Feb. 9 at the Sewanee Community Center.
Rooted Here, an organization that envelops the South Cumberland Farmers Market and Food Hub, sponsored the discussion. The panelists were unified in stating a desire to be good environmental stewards and raise livestock and produce without using hormones, pesticides or GMOs.
Lynn Blankenship of Dayspring Farm raises grass fed beef cattle and other livestock on 250 acres in the Skymont community near Altamont.
“We wanted to know exactly what we were eating and that’s why we got onto our farm,” she said. ‘We wanted to raise food for our family and that was our primary purpose.”
Leslie Lytle, president of Rooted Here, said there is a strong movement toward organic and sustainable farming, especially in the greater Sewanee area.
“We couldn’t have done this (panel discussion) 10 years ago,” she said. “We’re lucky to live in a community that will pay for organic.”
Wayne Diller and wife Margaret grew up on dairy farms and together with their three daughters and neighborly help, they operate Nature’s Wealth in Skymont. Nature’s Wealth raises meat goats and chickens using open-range methods.
“We decided to do this partly because we believe an occupation should be like the Bible directs us, ‘to maintain good works for necessary uses,’ and we wanted to provide a useful service to society,” he said.
Diller said because his chickens aren’t confined like commercial operations, they are healthier and tastier. He noted that two of his daughters and two women from the neighborhood can dress about 200 chickens in a day. Sewanee’s dining hall is the farm’s top customer.
Paul Spell and his wife own Humble Heart Farms in Elkmont, Ala., where they raise goats for cheese.
“Last year was our best year ever and it looks very promising for the near future,” he said. “My wife and I went into this feet first; I wanted three goats, she wanted 10 and we ended up buying 100 goats.”
Spell said some people complain about the prices of their cheese compared to big chain stores, but noted the amount of work that goes into it and the lack of fillers and other additives.
“We always joke that we only work half a day, from sun up to sun down,” Spell said. “Nowadays we go out there when its dark and we come home when its dark. People don’t know what it is to farm.”
Matt Sparacio of Cove Creek Farm in Tracy City stressed being environmentally friendly and raising healthy food, but also noted that small operations are as challenged by commercial farms with a larger volume who get the animals to market faster. But like Diller, he said his products are healthier for consumers.
“We raise our pigs for an extra two months to get them between 225 and 250 pounds, whereas a feed lot is feeding them out in five months at 300 to 350 pounds,” Sparacio said.
Caleb and Amy Rae of Solace Farm in Coalmont are utilizing reclaimed strip-mining land to raise beef cattle, meat goats, sheep, alpaca and other animals.
Like the other panelists, the Raes promote rotational grazing, moving livestock frequently to preserve the land, cut down on parasite cycles and concentrate the benefits of grazing.
“All of us are creating and maintaining ecosystems that support other species,” Caleb said. “Look at a big monocrop, with 200 to 300 acre pastures of soybeans; there’s an occasional deer that’s going to walk through there but the ecological diversity is incredibly low.”
Jess Wilson of Summer Fields and In Town Organics in Monteagle, raises a variety of livestock and produce, but she primarily discussed her sheep, which are raised for meat and wool.
“My goal overall in life is to put more carbon into the soil than I put in the atmosphere. That’s what we’re trying to do with our farm,” she said.
Wilson said part of her and her husband’s flock include the endangered Gulf Coast native sheep, which the Spaniards brought to this country in the 1500s. They bred the Gulf Coast sheep with larger varieties to increase heat tolerance, parasite and disease resistance and to have larger growing sheep, she said.
The wool that she sells is varied, Wilson noted.
“We found that people we sell wool to aren’t necessarily interested in it being super soft, but they’re interested in it being funky,” she said.
More information about these farmers and their products can be found at rootedhere.com and sewanee.locallygrown.net.

​School Board Weighs Middle School Options; Donates Land for College of Applied Technology

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“Property taxes would increase,” if new middle schools were built on the existing sites, said Director of Schools Amie Lonas at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Franklin County School Board, addressing questions raised in November when the board grappled with the problems posed by the county’s two aging middle schools. The board also approved transferring the deed for the old Franklin County High School property to the Franklin County Commission for construction of a Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
In the scenario of options developed by the engineering firm Oliver, Little, and Gipson, the cost of building new middle schools on the existing sites ($48 million to $55 million) was significantly higher than the cost of renovating the schools ($35 million to $37 million) or building a new combined middle school ($32 million to $37 million). The debt for the new high school would be paid in full in the 2020–21 school year, Lonas said, meaning funds for that debt could be put toward the middle school project. But the available amount would not be sufficient to cover the cost if the board decided in favor of building new middle schools on the existing sites.
Lonas also responded to several other questions raised by the board in November.
“Historically, enrollment has been decreasing,” Lonas said. Current combined enrollment at North and South middle schools is 1,068, which is 107 less students than in the 2010–11 school year.
Looking to utility expenses, Lonas said current heating and air conditioning costs average $1.39 to $1.44 per square foot, which does not include heating the gym and support areas. At Coffee County Middle School, which has a newer, more efficient HVAC system, the average cost is $1.29 per square foot, including heating and cooling for the gym and support areas. East Lincoln Elementary in Tullahoma uses a geothermal system, which costs significantly less, $1.05 per square foot.
“With geothermal, up-front costs are quite a bit higher, though,” Lonas pointed out.
Turning to a request from the Franklin County Commission, the board unanimously approved transferring the deed for the 8.5 acre site of the old high school to Franklin County.
“Franklin County has been awarded more than $4 million in community block grants for construction of a Tennessee College of Applied Technology,” said board member Christine Hopkins, who worked behind the scenes to see the project to fruition. Franklin County will contribute $1 million towards the construction of the facility. When the facility is completed, the Tennessee Board of Regents will assume ownership and responsibility for maintenance and operation.
In other business, Lonas proposed salary supplements for certified teachers meeting educational specialist requirements, coaches and coaching staff, and administrators.
“We do a good job of recruiting qualified new teachers straight out of college,” Lonas said, but she stressed the need to increase the incentive for teachers who pursue education beyond the master’s degree level. She recommended a graduated salary increase over 20 years, estimating the cost at $15,000 annually.
The supplements for coaches and coaching staff were necessary both to keep qualified coaches in the system and to make the Franklin County schools more competitive when recruiting personnel, Lonas explained. The pay scale proposed by Lonas called for a salary increase every other year. The funding would come from monies budgeted for salaries and wages under the athletics program.
Lonas also proposed supplementing administrators’ salaries with increases during a three-year period. Lonas estimated the cost at $41,000 the first year and $13,900 for the next two years.
The board approved the salary supplements in all three areas for the term of the 2017–18 school year.
Updating the board on the Drug Education and Screening committee, North Middle School Principal Stanley Bean said, “More than a thousand drug tests were conducted county wide and only one student tested positive.”
“I’m not so naïve as to think, there is only one student using drugs,” Bean acknowledged. “The students know the testing schedule.”
“But our goal isn’t to catch them,” Bean insisted. “It’s to prevent students from doing the wrong thing.” He stressed the importance of drug education featuring “successful people who beat drugs and alcohol.”
On Bean’s recommendation, the board approved a revision to the drug testing policy bringing the middle school policy in line with the high school policy to stipulate a student would not be banned from sports unless the student tested positive three times.
The board also approved an amendment to the bus contract allowing drivers to transport students to a different location in the afternoon for after-school care and similar needs if parental permission was provided.
The board meets next on March 6 for a working session. The next regular board meeting is March 13 at Decherd Elementary.

​St. James’ Program Benefits Teachers and Students

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

One student wanted to learn computer coding. Voila, there’s a tutor for that.
Another needed help with reading. There’s someone for that, too.
The new tutoring program at St. James Episcopal Church in Midway started in January and is proving to be good for both pupils and the assortment of teachers and college students who volunteer there.
Ann Seiters taught elementary and middle school for 40 years in places such as Wilmington, Del., Chattanooga and here in Sewanee. She’s retired professionally, but life goes on, she said, and she’s happy to be teaching again.
“It’s just a joy working alongside so many experienced, high-powered teachers,” Seiters said. “It’s like walking in a beautiful garden.”
The program is near capacity with about 16 students attending on Wednesdays, said Betty Carpenter, director of Community Action Committee (CAC), the group that spearheaded the project.
“Sewanee is full of retired school teachers who love kids and love to teach, but they’re done with teaching school,” Carpenter said. “This afterschool tutoring program just gives them a chance to practice their craft and give of their time to make children’s lives better.”
In addition to retired teachers, at least four University of the South students help tutor at St. James. Senior Alyson Carr, a music and economics major, has worked at public schools in Sewanee and Alabama.
“Tutoring was just the natural way to help and give back to my community,” she said. “I’ll help them in any way that I can because I know how hard it is to get homework done at the end of the day and make sure your kids understand everything.”
Carpenter noted that the program is also a gift to parents who know that homework will get done on Wednesdays between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., allowing for family time in the evening.
The tutoring idea was born after organizers noticed how many neighborhood kids visited the summer meal program at St. James, Carpenter said.
CAC Bonner Leader Allison Bruce was heavily involved in planning the program, and two community leaders and parents, Crystal Dykes and Amanda Knight, also joined the effort. In addition, Julia Bates, who was instrumental with tutoring programs in Maryland, shared her expertise.
Carpenter praised the partnership between CAC, the Midway community, St. James, students and retired teachers.
“To me, this is the perfect example of the way this town works,” she said. “It’s just connecting the dots.”
The tutoring program starts with 15 minutes of free play, followed by snack time, which includes icebreaker games to encourage conversation. Then the tutoring begins, often with one teacher for each student. Tutors are required to undergo background checks and safeguard training.
The program is open to students in grades K-8. For more information, call (931) 636-2377 or email cacoteyparish@gmail.com.

​Hoosier Appointed Deputy Fire Chief for SVFD

The University of the South has announced that Ronnie Hoosier has accepted an appointment as deputy fire chief for the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD), a position which was created last fall. Hoosier is employed in the University’s Physical Plant Services Department.

As deputy chief, Hoosier will assist Chief David Green in all aspects of the organization and direction of the SVFD, and will act in the chief’s stead if the chief is unable to perform his duties. He will work closely with Vice President for Risk Management Eric Hartman and Chief Green to undertake a full assessment of SVFD capabilities to ensure that the department continues to operate at peak efficiency.
“Ronnie is extraordinarily well respected by the community of first responders across the Plateau and beyond. His service to SVFD has been of a very high order. I have no doubt that he possesses both the necessary skills and, equally important, the respect of his peers, to assume these new duties,” said University Vice-Chancellor John McCardell, who made the appointment.
The deputy chief will be responsible for ensuring that all firefighters have adequate training; that equipment is monitored on a regular basis and is in good working order; and that policies and procedures concerning firefighting are in accord with local ordinances, state law and federal laws and regulations.

​Sewanee Student to Cross America for Cancer Victims

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

When L’Or Puymartin treks through Goose Lake Valley in Oregon’s high desert and skirts the beaches of Lake Erie, her grandparents will be close at heart, along with many others who’ve faced cancer.
Three of her grandparents died from the disease, and Puymartin herself was diagnosed with thyroid cancer her senior year of high school. This summer, in remembrance of her family and friends who have been struck by cancer, the Sewanee senior will run across the country in the 4K for Cancer. She expects the trek to be a restorative experience.
“Everyone is like, ‘That’s insane,’ but super supportive nonetheless and very excited for me, too,” she said while sitting outside Stirling’s Coffee House. “I’ve always been a fan of running. It’s a great way to clear my mind and it’s healing at the same time.”
The relay-style run, which benefits the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, begins in San Francisco and ends 49 days later in New York City. Puymartin has already garnered about half of her $10,000 fundraising goal, with the money assisting young adults with cancer.
“Every cent matters,” she said. “All money goes toward patients and families, for things like resources for academics, health and pre- and post-treatment.”
Three vans will accompany teams, one that goes to the destination spot for the day and two that stay with the runners, Puymartin said. She added that she expects runners to average 10 to 15 miles per day individually, while taking turns on the road. There will be a rest day about every three to six days.
Puymartin, who is a Sewanee track athlete and student assistant fire chief, is from Los Angeles but was born outside Paris, France. She was a soccer forward at her high school in Connecticut, when thyroid cancer ended her senior season. She had surgery to remove the cancer and after radiation treatment, has been cancer free since.
Even before her diagnosis, she was interested in helping others with the disease. Her mom is Lebanese and Puymartin spent two summers volunteering in Beirut at Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon.
To donate to her fundraising drive, talk to Puymartin around campus or visit her webpage at https://ulman.z2systems.com/Lor-puymartin.
In conjunction with her fundraising efforts, she is hosting a public bone marrow drive on Monday, Feb. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first floor of Spencer Hall. She said the procedure involves a simple mouth swab, with the results going into a donor registry.

​New Chef Aims for ‘Very Great’ at Valley Cove Bistro

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

The house smells delectable as new executive chef Thomas Anderson speaks with a Jamaican accent mingled with a healthy scoop of Southern drawl. The finale to the “William Tell Overture” plays in the background.
Anderson, 51, is excited about plans for Valley Cove Bistro, which opened less than a year ago in the former Corner House in Cowan.
“We’re going to make it happen in Cowan, Tenn., and keep you guys from going to Nashville or Chattanooga,” he said enthusiastically. “I’m very confident that I can bring a new and very exciting quality dining experience to this area.”
Anderson started about two weeks ago and he’s already made a number of changes to the menu with more to come this spring. His maternal grandma, a chef at a country club in Greenville, S.C., taught him to cook.
“I loved her turnip greens; her turnip greens were the bomb, and her chicken and dressing,” he said.
Anderson, who holds an impressive 30-plus year culinary resume, specializes in Italian, French and Southern cuisine.
“I have passion for cooking,” he says as “Amazing Grace” now plays on the sound system. “For me, cooking is like a great love affair.”
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Anderson’s late mother was Jamaican and his dad is from New York. He moved to be a chef at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville after leaving Hyatt Regency in Greenville. Nashville was home for about 30 years, but his culinary skills took him to Europe, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. Before coming to Valley Cove, he was a food and beverage consultant for places such as Sandals Resorts, Omni Hotels and privately-owned restaurants.
“I would basically go into restaurants having problems and I would retrain the staff, troubleshoot the whole thing and put it back together again,” he said.
In addition, he worked as a chef/manager at Radisson Hotel, was one of the opening chefs at Union Station Hotel in Nashville and owned a Caribbean restaurant in the Miami area. Food magazines including “Bon Appetit,” “Food Arts” and “Cooking Light” have featured Chef Anderson.
He said he will miss traveling as a consultant, but he wants to be close to his three daughters in Nashville.
“I needed something quieter and I’ve been traveling for quite a while so I decided to spend more time at home base and rekindle with the kids and grandkids,” he said.
After answering an ad and meeting with Ephraim Gammada, the Winchester doctor who owns Valley Cove Bistro, Anderson said he saw the potential. Customers seem pleased so far. Marianna Handler, who lives in the Sewanee area, ate lunch at Valley Cove on Jan. 31, just before closing time.
“So I had the place to myself. The chef served me himself and was very attentive, and very charming,” she said. “I will definitely go back as soon as possible. I had a very interesting onion soup and a chicken sandwich, which was perfectly grilled.”
Stephen and Dee Eichler of Sewanee recently ate at Valley Cove and said they plan to try the Ethiopian brunch soon. The Eichlers praised the service and called the restaurant quaint and elegant.
“It was a wonderful, relaxing place for lunch,” Dee said.
This is his “baby” and Anderson said a number of changes are coming.
Starting March 1, Valley Cove will add dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. in addition to serving lunch.
“Dinner will be a trendy, Southern-style with a little infusion of French cuisine,” he said.
Ethiopian brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will continue, but also in March, Anderson is adding traditional Southern cuisine to Sunday brunch, including a Southern-style tapas bar.
Anderson also plans to hire new wait staff and prep cooks with training comparable to a culinary college, he said. In addition to its catering service, Valley Cove will offer personal chef service this summer, where a chef prepares a meal right in a customer’s home. Cooking shows on the Internet and possibly on local television are also on the radar, as well as recipe books.
“People should know that now they have a very great restaurant starting up,” Anderson said. “You’ll be able to get very good meals of high quality, straight from local farmers to the table, all fresh ingredients and the prices will be very moderate.”
Valley Cove Bistro is at 401 Cumberland St. East in Cowan. Lunch hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Anderson said. Dinner hours will be 5 to 9 p.m.

​Volunteer Tennessee Celebrates Governor’s Volunteer Stars

Volunteers from 53 counties will be honored at the Ninth Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony at the Franklin Marriot Cool Springs in Franklin on Feb. 12. The award will celebrate the efforts of 84 volunteers statewide who have strived to improve their communities through service. Miss Tennessee 2016, Grace Burgess, will present the awards, and NewsChannel5 weekend anchor, Jennifer Kraus, will serve as the emcee.

One youth and one adult volunteer were selected from participating counties to receive this prestigious award. Nominees were judged based on the community’s need of the volunteer service performed, initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem and impact of the volunteer service on the community.
Local honorees include:
Hunter Ladd, Grundy County Youth Honoree—Hunter donates many hours of service to school, local churches and public events, such as the local election. With his church, he travels to the local housing project three times a year to donate food baskets for the adults, read stories for the children and provide clothing for the teenagers. Through the Interact club, he is helping with the Miracle on the Mountain project, inspired by Audrey Nunley, a librarian at Grundy County High School who died of cancer. Audrey dreamed of having a special-needs playground for her son in Grundy County. Hunter has donated a box of food every week of his senior year for the local food drive, and has a goal to give back through donations of new books and computers at Grundy County High School. With all the obligations on his plate, he still always makes time for helping out his community. He has a 4.0 grade point average and will graduate third in his class.
Roxanna Fults, Grundy County Adult Honoree—As city recorder of Tracy City, Roxanna not only keeps the city in order, but over the last several years has brought back something it had been missing: community. From the community Thanksgiving dinner she organizes each year to this year’s “Small Town Christmas,” she is always making sure that Tracy City is more than just a place to live. The community Thanksgiving dinner is an event that she organizes to help ensure that everyone in her community and beyond will have a wonderful hot Thanksgiving lunch. She organized this event three years ago and it has been very successful every year. Food is delivered to homebound folks throughout the community, and the doors of the American Legion are open to all who are able to come and enjoy the fellowship.
Volunteer Tennessee coordinates the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards at the state level. Volunteer Tennessee is the 25 member bipartisan citizen board appointed by the Governor to oversee AmeriCorps and service-learning programs and to advance volunteerism and citizen service to solve community problems in the Volunteer State.

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