​Messenger Break Ahead

The Friday, May 19 is our last issue for May. There will not be a printed edition on May 26. The Messenger will be on break May 22–29. We will be back in the office Tuesday, May 30 and in print on Friday, June 2 for the official start of summer on the Mountain. Deadlines for the June 2 issue are display advertising, Monday, May 29, at 5 p.m.; news/calendar, 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 30; and classified ads, noon, Wednesday, May 31.

During the summer, a number of clubs do not meet and churches often change their schedules. Please let the Messenger know by phone or email before 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 30, if your organization’s schedule will differ from the one we publish regularly in our printed and online calendars.

​Local Residents Receive Numerous Awards and Scholarships

Abbie Faxon and Allie Faxon of Sewanee recently received numerous awards, and scholarships for college. They are seniors at Franklin County High School.

Abbie received the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 2017 Provost Scholarship for $12,000; the 2017 Mary Phillips Kirby Smith scholarship for $2,000; the 2017 American City Bank scholarship for $2,000; the 2017 Rotary Club Dr. Doyle Couser scholarship for $500; and the 2017 Coca Cola scholarship for $500. Her awards include the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, the Franklin County High School Honor Student Award and the Franklin County High Broadcasting Award.
Allie received the 2017 Tennessee Tech Admission Academic scholarship for $4,000; the 2017 Mary Phillips Kirby Smith scholarship for $2,000; the 2017 American City Bank scholarship for $2,000; the 2017 Linda Bauman Memorial scholarship for $1,000; and the 2017 Andy Groves scholarship for $50,. Her awards include the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, the Franklin County High School Honor Student Award and the Franklin County High School Senior Student of the Month for April.
Both have received the Tennessee Hope Scholarship, the Tennessee Lottery Aspire Award and a TSAC grant. Both girls maintained a 4.0 grade point average all four years of high school.
Abbie will attend University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to double major in education and psychology with a minor in Spanish and communications. She plans to be a psychology professor, but may attend a masters program for counseling or communications.
Allie will attend Tennessee Tech in Cookeville to major in microbiology to become a cytogeneticist. She plans on studying and repairing defected genes to cure genetic diseases.
Abbie and Allie are the daughters of Jimbo and Stephanie Faxon of Sewanee.Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Gary Keller of Tullahoma, and Mr. and Mrs. Larry Mann of Bell Buckle.

​SAS Graduation Events

St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School will host its commencement exercises during the weekend of May 19–21.

The weekend begins with the baccalaureate service at 5:30 p.m., today (Friday), May 19, at the school’s outdoor altar. This year’s baccalaureate speaker will be SAS English teacher Claire Reishman. The baccalaureate service is followed by a banquet for seniors, their families and guests in Robinson Dining Hall. The final event of the evening is the senior lead-out and Annie presentations in McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts.
At 10 a.m., Saturday, May 20, the school community will gather under the tent at the outdoor altar for Honors Day, a celebration of student achievements throughout the year and major awards recognizing outstanding leadership, service and scholarship. Following the program, guests are invited to a reception in Simmonds Hall. Student artwork will be on display in the SAS Gallery throughout the weekend.
The weekend and the school year concludes on Sunday, May 21, with a commencement Eucharist and commencement exercises, which begin at 10 a.m. under the tent at the outdoor altar. There will be a reception in the Spencer Room.

​IONA Art & Readings

The Spring Festival of Artists and Authors at IONA: Art Sanctuary opened in May with readings and art exhibits. Readings begin at 5 p.m. at 630 Garnertown Rd. All events are free and open to the public. There will be an exhibition of photographs by John Willis through May 26.

On Tuesday, May 23, readers will be Peter Trenchi (creative writing), the Rev. Nikolas Combs (poetry), and Virginia Craighill (poetry and verse).
Lynn Cimino-Hurt (poetry), Michael Cimino-Hurt (poetry and short story), and Kiki Beavers and John Beavers (film and TV blog) will be the featured readers for Wednesday, May 24.
David Landon with Chris Bryan will perform scenes from “King Lear” and more on Thursday, May 25. Jennifer Michael will also read poetry.
On Friday, May 26, readings will be given by Camila Hwang-Carlos and Malia Carlos (poetry), and Robert Walker (poetry). Marsha Carnahan will play the flute.

​Local, Fresh Food at Area Markets

Fresh foods grown in the area are plentiful and available in a number of locations.

The Sewanee Gardeners’ Market, open every Saturday, 8–10 a.m., in the summer, will have its opening day Saturday, May 27. The Market is located on Highway 41A, next to Hawkins Lane and the Mountain Goat Trail.
The Cowan Farmers’ Market is open 7 a.m.–noon, on Saturday, North Tennessee Street.Call Hazel Watson at (931) 691-2622 for more information and to become a vendor.
The Cumberland Farmers’ Market has breads, fruits and vegetables, eggs, coffee and meats available. Learn more online at http://sewanee.locallygrown.net.
The Franklin County Farmers’ Market is open 7 a.m.–noon, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through October on Dinah Shore Blvd., next to the Franklin County Annex building. Call (931) 967-2741 for more information.

​Summer Meal Program

The University of the South (Sewanee) in partnership with the South Cumberland Community Fund announce their sponsorship of the 2017 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Human Services under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program is known as the South Cumberland Summer Meal Program.

Meals will be provided to all children without charge who come from low-income families. Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Meals and enrichment activities will be provided at the sites and times as follows:
Beersheba Springs Public Library, Wednesday, June 7–28; Friday, June 30; noon–1 p.m.
Camp Discover, Monday–Friday, June 5–16; 8 a.m., noon.
Camp Rain, Monday and Tuesday, June 5–6; July 17–18; July 21; July 24; 8 a.m., noon.
Coalmont Public Library, Thursday, July 6–27; 1–2 p.m.
Crow Creek Community Center, Monday and Wednesday, June 12– 28; noon–1 p.m.
Cumberland Baptist Church, Beersheba Springs, Monday–Friday, July 17–21 (vacation bible school); 6–7 p.m.
First Methodist Church of Tracy City, Monday–Friday, June 5–9; Wednesday, July 5–26; 6–8 p.m.
Franklin County Library, Monday–Friday, June 5 –July 12; noon–1 p.m.
Grundy County Housing Authority, Monday–Friday, June 5–July 28; noon–1 p.m.
May Justus Memorial Library, Monteagle, Thursday, June 8–July 13; noon–1 p.m.
Palmer Public Library, Thursday, July 6–July 27; noon–1 p.m.
Rain Teen Center, Winchester, Wednesday, June 7–July 26; 6–9 p.m.
St. James Episcopal Church, Midway, Tuesday and Thursday, June 6–July 27; 11 a.m.–noon.
Sewanee Elementary School ESP, Monday–Friday, June 5–July 28; 7:30 a.m., noon.
Sewanee Elementary School Reading Program, Monday–Friday, June 15–23; July 3; July 5–21; 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m.
Town Creek Apartments, Monday–Friday, June 5–July 28; 8:30 a.m., noon.
Woodland Ridge Apartments, Monday–Friday, June 5–July 28; 8:30 a.m., noon.
UT Extension–4H , Monday–Friday, June 12– 19; July 10–14; noon–1 p.m.
If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at , or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form.
Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410 by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at <program.intake@usda.gov>.
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

​School Board Votes to Consolidate Middle Schools

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 8 Franklin County School Board meeting, the board voted 7 to 1 in favor of a resolution requesting the County Commission authorize a $37.5 million bond to fund construction of a consolidated middle school to replace the two aging middle schools currently serving the county. Prior to the vote, Director of Schools Amie Lonas reviewed the proposed 2017–18 budget, projecting expenses would exceed revenue by $2.5 million.
The shortfall would require the school district to draw on the reserve fund balance expected to be $4.9 million at the close of this fiscal year. Lonas recommended the board request additional revenue from the County Commission—“If we keep drawing down the fund balance each year, we’ll fall below the minimum required level.” By law, the school system must have a fund balance equal to 3 percent of its budget, with that threshold $1.3 million at present.
Depleting the fund balance was among concerns highlighted in the consolidated middle school resolution prepared by Sewanee school board representative Adam Tucker. The resolution pointed to the “significant structural issues” at the two middle schools and argued renovation of the schools “would not be a prudent use of public funds.” The resolution also stressed that implementing enhanced programming needs at two middle schools “will cost nearly $400,000 per year more than implementing these same programs at a single consolidated middle school.”
Board member Linda Jones took issue with not receiving the resolution until just before the meeting and language stating supporting arguments were the opinion of “the majority of the board.”
“I don’t agree with all of these,” Jones said.
Board member Gary Hanger concurred. “I feel you’re being very presumptuous.”
Tucker apologized for presenting the resolution to the board at the last minute. “I based the resolution on opinions expressed at past board meetings,” he explained. The board could choose not to accept the resolution or amend it, Tucker said.
Board member Christine Hopkins reiterated concerns about “disruption” during the renovation process. “My first choice would be two new schools, but without a major property tax increase, the county can’t afford it,” Hopkins said. She emphasized the need to find “a central location” for the consolidated school if the board voted in favor of that option.
The other two options before the board were renovating the middle schools, cost of $35–$37 million, and building two new middle schools, cost $48–$52 million.”
Board Chair Cleijo Walker said the issue has posed “a very difficult decision for me. In a perfect world I’d vote for two schools. But I can’t see spending $30 plus million to make the two buildings livable. We want more than livable.”
An unwavering supporter of two schools, Jones said, “I’ve talked to administrators, teachers and students. They don’t want a big building. They want to keep their communities. The majority of the respondents to the surveys said, ‘let the children stay in the middle school they’re in now.’” Jones acknowledged, though, response to the surveys was low.
Hanger said he was “struck by the apathy and lack of phone calls from constituents.” Other board members expressed similar sentiments.
“I have the same concerns as Adam Tucker,” said Lonas. “With a single consolidated school we can offer the programming we’re not currently offering. To have students ready for high school, we need to consolidate.”
“I’d like to put this off to next month, so I can have time to think about it before voting,” Hanger said.
“We’ll miss the county commission budget cycle if we postpone the vote,” said board member Lance Williams.
In the roll call vote that followed, only Jones voted against the resolution.
Among the highlights of the budget proposed by Lonas was a $650,000 decrease in revenue. This was due largely to a $205,000 decrease in state funding because of a drop in enrollment, and a $215,000 decrease in Special Education and Title programs funding resulting from a new method of calculating economically disadvantaged students.
Under expenses, big ticket items included $330,000 for teachers salaries in keeping with the 2 percent annual raise and step increases approved by the board; $275,000 for textbooks, which will make Chromebooks available to all students in grades nine through 12; a $207,000 increase in health insurance costs; an additional $220,000 for Special Education; and an additional $130,000 for Career and Technical Education programs.
In related business, the board approved the budget for the summer Extended School Program (ESP) which calls for raising the cost for participating students 10 percent to $80 per week per child. “I think it’s a bargain,” said Walker, pointing out that in addition to enrichment activities participating students received breakfast, lunch, and a snack. The additional revenue will fund raising the directors’ pay from minimum wage to $8 per hour.
Four schools will serve as ESP sites—Clark Memorial Elementary, Decherd Elementary, North Lake Elementary and Sewanee Elementary—with transportation offered from other elementary schools to the ESP locations.
The board meets next on Monday, June 5 for a work session.

​Runkle to Step Down from St. Mary’s Sewanee

The Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development announces that after serving St. Mary’s Sewanee as Executive Director for four years, the Rev. John Runkle is stepping down, effective June 30. Runkle will continue to live in Sewanee and will resume his practice as a historical architect with a focus on church buildings and other sacred properties. Runkle has devoted much of his ordained life to helping congregations and dioceses care for their places of worship.

“It indeed has been a great privilege to serve the St. Mary’s Sewanee community and help further its mission as a center for spiritual development,” says Runkle. “Together with our devoted staff, trustees and volunteers, we have accomplished much during the past four years—the quality of programs, the warmth of our hospitality, the efficiency of our operations, the increase in numbers of those who support us financially, and the incredible beauty of our facilities and grounds – all contribute to the growing number of people who come to St. Mary’s Sewanee and value it as a special place. I am thankful to have been part of this committed team.”
St. Mary’s Sewanee is conducting a national search for its next Executive Director and expects to fill the position in the summer.
Some of the recent developments under Runkle’s leadership include a new relationship with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, which has commenced a new four-part program, the Soul of Leadership, at St. Mary’s Sewanee. Many other programs offered by long-time St. Mary’s Sewanee presenters have been able to make use of the Center’s new and upgraded facilities on a year-round basis. Marketing efforts are broadening to inform a larger audience of the Center’s multiple options to rest, renew, and reconnect. Upcoming completion of the Kathy Wood’s Memorial Garden will provide a place of tranquility and quiet for use by our guests. Focus on plans to secure funds to build the new Hospitality Building will provide space to accommodate the increasing number of groups that use St. Mary’s Sewanee facilities.
Board President Dale Grimes said, “The Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s Sewanee is extremely grateful for John’s leadership as Executive Director for the past four years. During his time at St. Mary’s Sewanee, the center has experienced an increase in program offerings and number of visiting groups and guests. John’s professional skills and congenial personality have been instrumental in creating the warm, spiritual environment that guests desire. The board wishes him well as he returns to his architectural practice and wants him to know we will miss him. However, we are confident about the future of St. Mary’s Sewanee, and look forward to continuing to work to fulfill our mission and welcome our next Executive Director.”

Located on 230 acres atop Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development offers a place of natural beauty and quiet for retreat, renewal and learning. Its mission is dedicated to providing spiritual hospitality and welcome to persons of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds, including church groups, nonprofits, small groups and individuals. St. Mary’s Sewanee’s calendar of programs is set through 2018. For a complete list of offerings and more information, please visit www.stmaryssewanee.org


​On-Campus Farmers’ Market

The South Cumberland Farmers Market (Rooted Here) and Sewanee Dining are jointly sponsoring an On-Campus Farmers’ Market 1:30–4:30 p.m., today (Friday), May 12, on the lawn at Stirling’s. Customers can expect locally raised beef and pork, homemade pasta, washed and ready to eat salad mix and more—a great shopping opportunity for a graduation weekend feast! Sewanee Dining’s commitment to dedicating 30 percent of its budget to locally grown food and SCFM’s goal of making locally grown food readily available to consumers dovetail in a shared commitment to support local farmers. For many students, the market will be a rare opportunity to meet the farmers who raise the food they eat and, likewise, for community members who purchase online from SCFM and never have face to face contact with the farmers. All area farmers are invited to participate, not just those affiliated with SCFM.

​Homelessness in Sewanee Exists

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

Homelessness in Sewanee is difficult to find and largely not viewed as a problem, but a recent research project indicates there are people in the community who do not have a place to call home.
Arthur Jones, a seminarian at the School of Theology, started researching homelessness in Sewanee and Franklin County last fall as part of his Gessell Fellowship for Social Ethics, which provides funding for projects in social theory and social ethics. During the research, Jones said he met three people in the Sewanee area who were homeless.
“In my conversations with them, I was struck by the fact that on top of dealing with the harsh daily realities of being homeless, most of them also expressed feelings of unwelcomeness,” Jones said. “The visible affluence of some students, faculty members, members of the Sewanee community and their families in terms of how they dress or what they drive or how they carry themselves combine to make homeless members of Sewanee’s community feel that much more unwanted, unneeded, unloved and invisible.”
Jones said one of the people became homeless after an extended illness, another lost a job, and in a third situation, a woman moved into area shelters following a divorce. He said a major misconception is that homelessness is the direct result of bad choices, but there are many reasons someone can be homeless.
“If it wasn’t for God’s grace, it could be any one of us,” he said. “We’ve all been sick; we’ve all been in need; we’ve all needed help, maybe not financially, but no man is an island and we all need each other.”
Sewanee is a relatively affluent community, but extreme poverty is a part of life here as well. According to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the median household income in Sewanee is $73,750, above the national household median of $53,889. Those same statistics show 4.1 percent of Sewanee families live below the poverty line.
Laura Willis, former director of the South Cumberland Community Fund, an area philanthropic organization, and past director of the Community Action Committee (CAC), an outreach of Otey Parish, said homelessness in Sewanee is usually temporary, but added there is an absence of affordable housing.
“From my experience, when someone becomes homeless in Sewanee, they move from friend to friend with the occasional night in the car,” Willis said. “So, while we don’t have homeless folks living under bridges or in the park, we have people who need short-term options for when a relationship ends or they get into trouble and family won’t take them in.”
According to the Tennessee State Plan to End Homelessness, 9,123 people were identified as homeless in Tennessee in 2015. In that plan, Franklin, Grundy and Marion counties are designated as part of the Chattanooga/Southeast Tennessee region, which includes 11 counties and the mid-size cities of Chattanooga and Cleveland. In that region, 636 people were identified as homeless in 2015.
In the 19-county Upper Cumberland region, which includes neighboring counties Moore, Lincoln and Coffee, 362 people were identified as homeless in 2015.
Betty Carpenter, director of CAC, said about every two months someone who is homeless seeks help there, usually coming from outside Sewanee. But Carpenter noted that people who live in Sewanee have been on the verge of being homeless and the CAC was able to help with rent or a mortgage payment. The organization can also assist with food, clothing, temporary hotel stays, dental and medical care, and a number of other needs.
“Whatever people need, I hope that they know they can come here and if we can’t help them, we can steer them to an agency that can,” Carpenter said. “Sometimes I feel like we’re the first line of defense.”
Sewanee Police Chief Marie Eldridge said officers do encounter people who are homeless when they pass through via Highway 41A, or after they have been transported to the hospital from other areas.
“We typically try to connect them to a church for assistance,” Eldridge noted.
Jones presented his research findings on April 26 at the School of Theology, and noted that churches are the primary resource in combating homelessness, but stressed that increased government awareness and assistance is needed.
“Churches are ready, willing and able to help the homeless. Churches are willing to partner with governmental agencies on the local level, state level and so on to help our brothers and sisters. And in places where that’s going on, great things are happening,” he said.
To donate to the Community Action Committee or for assistance with a need, call (931) 598-5927 or visit between 9 and 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, at 216 University Avenue behind Otey Parish.

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