​58th Annual Festival of  Lessons and Carols

The 58th annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at the University of the South will be celebrated at three services, two on Dec. 2 (5 and 8 p.m.), and one on Dec. 3 (5 p.m.).

At once solemn and joyful, the Festival of Lessons and Carols evokes the meaning of the Advent season through the radiant music of the University Choir and selected readings by members of the University and Sewanee community. The service is based on one that has been sung annually since 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. It features the University Choir under the direction of University organist and choirmaster Geoffrey Ward.
As part of the University mission and the program of education and formation of All Saints’ Chapel, the Festival Service of Lessons and Carols offers students, faculty and staff the opportunity to experience one of the oldest traditions of Anglican music and Advent expectation.
As part of the University’s outreach to others, the public is also welcome to attend; tickets were available by reservation in November. All available spaces were reserved quickly, but it still may be possible to attend a service without a reserved seat. The University expects that some people with tickets will decide not to attend, and will distribute those tickets in advance of each service.
There will be a signup sheet in Convocation Hall beginning at noon, Saturday and Sunday. People who wish to attend a service may add their names to the list for a service that day.
Thirty minutes before each service (4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Saturday and 4:30 p.m., Sunday), people from the signup list will be seated with tickets that were not picked up by those who reserved them.
Tickets will be distributed in the order in which people signed up.
Guests must be present in Convocation Hall 30 minutes before the service in order to receive a ticket.
While there are no guarantees, all walkups have been seated during the last four years in which the ticketing system has been used.
Gailor Auditorium will be open and will live-stream each service for anyone who cannot be seated in All Saints’ Chapel, or who is sensitive to the incense used in the Chapel.
Guests with reservations should pick up their tickets in Convocation Hall on the day of the service between noon and 30 minutes prior to each service. Tickets not picked up by 4:30 p.m. (for Saturday and Sunday 5 p.m. services) or 7:30 p.m. (for the Saturday 8 p.m. service) will be released for walk-up guests.

​Monteagle Council Tackles Yard Problem; Approves Deannexation and Speed Limit Change

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 27 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council discussed the possible outcome of issuing citations to owners of three wrecker services for failure to erect a fence screening “junked” conveyances from view. The council also approved deannexation of a portion of Deep Woods, and raising the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on North Central Ave.
Codes Enforcement Officer Earl Geary said the three wrecker service owners in violation of the fencing ordinance passed in August were ordered to appear in court on Dec. 14.
A concerned resident presenting photographs of one lot said, “It’s a mess and never been dealt with. It’s been an eyesore for years.”
Police Chief Virgil McNeese expected difficulty enforcing the ordinance. “The judge is appointed, not elected. He can impose a $50 a day fine, but if they don’t pay the fine, it turns into a civil matter.” McNeese said the district attorney advised the city to put a lien on the property, clean it up and hold the property until the city was reimbursed for fines and cleanup expenses.
Geary pointed out that following that course of action it was likely “you won’t get your money until the property sells.”
The resident presenting the photographs said that in the past when there were complaints, the owner of the lot moved wrecked vehicles from one location to another. Numerous residents spoke out objecting to the junked vehicle lots.
McNeese said the hearing would be held at 6 p.m. at the Monteagle City Hall. “If you want to testify, I’ll advise the judge why you are there.”
Preliminary to approving on a second reading deannexation of the portion of Deep Woods remaining in the Monteagle city limits, Mayor David Sampley asked for comments from residents.
“Why was Deep Woods ever annexed in the first place?” asked a resident who recently purchased a lot in the segment slated for deannexation. “It caused me a lot of grief trying to figure out who my utility service providers are,” she said. Her lot is located in Marion County, but her utility service comes from Franklin County. “Is there any benefit to being part of Monteagle?”
“No,” answered City Recorder Debby Taylor. She explained the annexation occurred more than 20 years ago under Mayor Charles Rollins. “It had something to do with water service,” Taylor said.
The council approved the deannexation unanimously.
Citing an August decision to lower the speed limit on side streets to 20 miles per hour on a trial basis, a resident asked the council to restore the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on North Central Ave. “There is very little pedestrian traffic,” she said. “It’s hilly and you have to ride your brakes.”
Alderman Kenneth Gipson agreed. “It will be hard to get up the hill in the winter.”
Another resident said he and his daughter no longer traveled North Central due to the speeding. “I’m not complaining about 20 or 30 miles an hour, but many motorists drive 50 miles an hour.”
“Police officers have been writing tickets,” McNeese said. “In my opinion 31 miles per hour is too fast on a residential street.”
“I think five miles an hour over the speed limit should be reckless driving.” By Tennessee state law, 30 mph over the speed limit is reckless driving.
The council approved increasing the speed limit to 30 mph on North Central Ave., with Alderman Anna Zeman opposing.
The board also approved retaining Randy Adams to demolish the large building in the Monteagle Annex previously used for a fire hall. Adams was the low bidder at $17,200, with other bids ranging from $23,000 to $71,000.
Asked about demolition of the smaller building in the annex, Sampley said, “The smaller building was inspected by engineers and determined to be still usable. They said there was no reason to demolish it.”
Both the fire department and utility department have expressed an interest in using the smaller building to store equipment.
The council meets next Jan. 29, 2018. The council will not meet in Dec.

​SUD Approves Rate Increase, Employee Retirement Plan; Seeks Commissioner

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 28 meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Sewanee Utility District of Franklin and Marion Counties, the board approved the 2018 budget, which includes a 1 percent rate increase, and approved making the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) retirement plan available to SUD employees. The board is seeking a district resident to serve as a SUD commissioner. Commissioners received a monthly $50 stipend.
The more than $1.51 million budget prepared by SUD manager Ben Beavers allocates $270,000 to replacing aging cast iron waterlines on South Carolina and Florida avenues. SUD plans to fund the project by drawing on cash reserves rather than taking out a loan. Expenses will exceed projected revenues by $155,649.
“Personally, I’m debt adverse,” Beavers said. “I’d like to think we can sell more water. We can if the Cooley’s Rift project builds out, but we can’t count on that.”
The Operations and Maintenance portion of the budget, $1.02 million, increased by $40,600. Beavers said the greatest portion of the increase was due to rising health care premiums. The state offered a less costly plan, according to Beavers, but with far higher deductibles and out of pocket expenses.
The Operations and Maintenance budget also included a 1.6 percent cost of living raise for SUD employees based on the Consumer Price Index.
Beavers said the rate increase was needed “to keep up with inflation.” The increase applies only to the monthly minimum charge and customer water use. The tap fee, water resource fee, and other fees applicable to new customers will not change. For water service only customers, the average monthly bill increase will be 30 cents. For water and sewer service customers, the average monthly bill increase will be 79 cents.
The state sponsored TCRS retirement plan approved by the board will result in a 42 percent decrease in administrative fees compared to the current employee retirement plan. SUD employees met with representatives from the state and the brokerage firm administering the TCRS plan and “liked their answers,” Beavers said.
“With some luck, the state plan will be implemented by the first of the year,” said SUD Board President Charlie Smith.
SUD is seeking a commissioner to fill the seat of Karen Singer. Singer has served two terms and by law is prohibited from serving another term.
Commissioners must attend monthly meetings lasting one to two hours and complete 12 hours of commissioner training during their first year of service. Commissioners must reside in the district, but need not be SUD customers.
Persons interested in serving as a SUD commissioner should contact Beavers at (931) 598-5611 before Dec. 18.
Turning to an issue brought up at a recent commissioner training session, Smith said inadequate segregation of duties was a recurrent problem for utility service providers.
“It turns up on everyone’s audit,” Smith said. “The recommendation was to involve a third party in the financial process. It doesn’t have to be a CPA. It could be a bookkeeper or any outside person.”
“I think it’s a great idea,” Beavers said. “I included $2,000 in the budget for that purpose. They could audit receipts and the checking account. It wouldn’t take someone long to do that.”
Persons interested in the position should contact Beavers.
Commissioner Randall Henley asked if there was any news on the Midway pressure boosting project.
“There’s been progress in securing an easement,” Beavers said. Once the easement process is completed the project can move forward.
The board meets on Dec. 19.

​22nd Annual Holiday Studio Tour

Tennessee Craft–South invites the public to the 22nd annual Holiday Studio Tour on the Mountain Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. CST and Sunday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m–4 p.m. CST. Tennessee Craft–South is the regional branch of Tennessee Craft, the state-wide organization which supports and promotes all handmade crafts in Tennessee.

At its inception, the local studio tour ranged from Chattanooga to Tullahoma, but gradually, the tour focused increasingly on the Monteagle and Sewanee area because of the concentration of artists and exhibition spaces on the mountain. More than 25 local and regional artists will show their work, ranging from textiles, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and glass to paintings, metal work and wood work. Monteagle studios which have been added this year include those of Kim Phillips (paper arts) and Christi Teasley (paper cutting and textiles/printmaking); returning for a second year is the Monteagle studio of Glyn and Will Melnyk (handwoven textiles). A new Sewanee studio, that of Diane Jones (calligraphy), joins other Sewanee artists’ studios open to the public for the Tour, including those of Bob Askew, Pippa Browne, Ben Potter, Claire Reishman and Merissa Tobler. Other Sewanee locations displaying work are the American Legion Hall and Locals Gallery. Light refreshments will be available at most locations.
Additionally, there is a group exhibition of artists’ work in the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Art Gallery, located in the center of the Simmonds Building at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. Most sites host several different artists showing their work, while the SAS Art Gallery presents an exhibition from artists on the Studio Tour, in addition to SAS faculty and students and other members of Tennessee Craft–South. Most works featured in the Studio Tour Exhibition are for sale at the Gallery.
There are six sponsors for the Holiday Studio Tour this year: the Monteagle Inn, Mooney’s, Shenanigans, Locals, the Sewanee Inn, and the Blue Chair. Studio Tour brochures are available at each of these local businesses and at all participating studios.

Bright yellow signs mark the tour route, and maps are available at all locations on the tour as well as at all sponsors’ locations, in the Sewanee Mountain Messenger, and on the Tennessee Craft–South website http://tennesseecraft.org/members/chapters/south/

​Greening of the Chapel

On Friday, Dec. 1, members of the Sewanee community are invited to join in the Greening of All Saints’ Chapel in preparation for the 58th annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. Work begins at 9 a.m. and all levels of experience are welcomed and very much needed. Please bring any treasures from your garden (dried hydrangea, nandina and other berries, unusual evergreen clippings, etc.), which can be used to decorate wreaths and garlands. Coffee and pastries are served throughout the morning, and a light lunch will be offered at noon. Ken Taylor, of Taylor’s Mercantile, will direct the day’s activities.

A tour of All Saints’ Chapel decorations will be availabe at 1:30 p.m., on Sunday, Dec. 3. It’s an opportunity for folks to see the decorations up close, photograph them, and see how they are constructed. Meet in the narthex of the Chapel, where the tour will begin.

​A Plantation and a Church: Reconciling Pasts Tied to Slavery, Confederacy

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

If the “Cathedral of the Confederacy” can confront its past, so can the University of the South, said Wallace Adams-Riley, former rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va.
In his statement, Adams-Riley, a 1993 Sewanee graduate, was referencing an opinion article from the Nashville Scene, “If Sewanee Can Do it, Everyone Can Do It,” in which writer Betsy Phillips talks about the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation. The project is aimed at delving into the University’s history and deciding the future of campus monuments and memorials related to the Confederacy and slavery. Slaveholders and Confederate veterans helped found the University and some of its early leaders and professors were also Confederate veterans.
Adams-Riley spoke at the project’s third forum on Nov. 7 at Gailor Hall, in which he outlined St. Paul’s efforts at reconciling with its own history. Leaders of the Confederacy worshipped at the church, including Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Gen. Josiah Gorgas, who went on to become vice chancellor at Sewanee and whose name adorns Gorgas Hall on campus.
Adams-Riley asked parishioners if it was time to address the church’s own monuments and memorials following the racially-motivated shootings in 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
“‘Might God be calling us to have a conversation unlike any we’ve ever had before about all of the Confederate memorials and imagery inside St. Paul’s Church?’” he recalled asking. ‘What is it like for an African American, man, woman or child, to walk into our church and to see all of this? …Do they feel welcome and fully and equally valued as anyone else? Welcome in this house of God with those things on the walls?’”
Following many discussions, meetings and two public forums, St. Paul’s decided to remove all images of the Confederate Battle Flag from inside the church, he said. They also resolved to study the church’s history more deeply and create a memorial to slaves who helped build the church in the 1840s.
“In the aftermath of all this St. Paul’s was repeatedly accused of erasing history. The irony is people of St. Paul’s know their history now better than ever before. There’s no two ways about it,” he said.
The effort at St. Paul’s also includes creating liturgical and musical expressions of reconciliation and history, Adams-Riley added. The St. Paul’s project is scheduled to conclude in 2020.
When asked whether images and memorials to Confederate soldiers inside Sewanee’s All Saints’ Chapel should remain, Adams-Riley said there is no one solution for every community and input is needed from all sides, but he has his own views.
“I believe that any image of the Confederate Battle Flag has to be put away forever,” he said. “And likewise, any image or representation of a Confederate soldier in uniform, forever. Now they can be in museums or on private property but in terms of public spaces, and I’m saying this as a direct descendent of 11 Confederate soldiers; this is my heritage.”
“What I’m saying is, for the sake of the common good, for the sake of reconciliations, for the sake of all members of our community, I think we have to make choices,” he added.
The second speaker at the Nov. 7 forum was Winslow Hastie, whose family has owned Magnolia Plantation and Gardens since 1676. The popular tourist attraction near Charleston, S.C., also underwent a historical fact and soul-finding mission. Hastie, who has worked in historical preservation in both San Francisco and Charleston, helped spearhead a project to restore the old slave cabins at the plantation and launch deeper investigation into slave life and genealogy there.
He said he received pushback from people in his own family, who preferred to keep the past quiet.
“That was sort of an unpleasant topic we really didn’t want to talk about. That was kind of a raw thing, it was uncomfortable for a lot of people,” he said.
Hastie, a 1995 Sewanee graduate, said he wrestled with his family’s past, but wanted a transparent and honest view of history.
In 1872, the plantation and gardens opened as a tourist attraction. Some of the freed slaves continued to work there, Hastie noted, and descendants continue to work there today—some actually lived in the slave cabins until the mid-1990s.
The restoration of the cabins and surrounding research opened up a number of connections, Hastie said. People whose family members were buried in unmarked graves in one of the plantation’s cemeteries were encouraged to visit and Magnolia became a gathering place for descendants of the slaves there.
In addition, interpretative programs, as well as a program called Lowcountry Africana, a genealogy library and archive for African Americans in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, grew out of the slave research at Magnolia, Hastie said.
Responding to an audience question, Hastie said there have been no conversations about reparations to descendants of slaves, but said Magnolia Plantation does offer two scholarships for African American students, one to the College of Charleston and the other to Trident Technical College.
Woody Register, director of Sewanee’s Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation, said the project’s working group expects to submit recommendations about the University’s memorials and monuments at the end of this academic year. The project is scheduled to continue for six years.

​School Board Considers Converting Schools to LED Lighting


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Converting the Franklin County schools to LED lighting “would reduce your electric bills by enough to pay for the project,” Scotty Caroom, with the Excel Energy Group (EEG), told the Franklin County School Board at the Nov. 13 meeting. Based on lighting energy-use records from Duck River Electric, the school system would save $93,000 annually, Caroom said. The school system qualified for 100 percent funding from the Energy Efficient School Initiative (EESI) and a $30,000 grant from TVA, according to Caroom, making the annual payment $85,000, yielding a net savings of $7, 600.
EEG’s proposal called for upgrading all school system lighting except the two middle schools and the ball fields. “Ball fields don’t pay off,” Caroom said. The middle schools are slated to be replaced by a consolidated middle school.
The school system’s outstanding debt for upgrading to fluorescent lighting, which has 4.5 percent interest rate, would be absorbed into the new 1 percent interest loan, Caroom said. The new loan would have a 10-year term. The EEG proposal carries a 10-year warranty on parts and labor.
The switch to LED lighting would cut the school systems lighting-related electricity usage by 50-60 percent. Pointing to another advantage, Caroom said LED lights had a 20-25 year life span compared to 8-10 years for fluorescent lights.
Caroom said the Giles County School system chose to do the LED conversion themselves, drawing on the school system’s fund balance. Most school systems “don’t have the free money or the man power” to undertake the project on their own, he said. “I’ve never seen a county commission deny approval for an EEG conversion to LED. You’re not asking for new money. With the EESI loan, there’s no money up front.”
“What rationale would allow the board to bypass the competitive procurement process?” asked Sewanee school board representative Adam Tucker. “Typically, there would be invitations to bid.”
Caroom explained that “Under Tennessee state statute for school districts for projects whose purpose is energy conservation measures, both the engineering and the materials are procured the same as professional services, and with that you can select a qualified provider of your choosing.”
The school system has five more payments on the current 4.5 percent loan, with the next payment due April 1. “In order for the payment to be absorbed into the new loan, the LED retrofit needs to be installed by then,” Caroom said.
“If we decide we’re prepared to act on this in December, we could take it to the county commission in January,” said Board Chair Cleijo Walker.
“We’ll do what we can to accommodate you,” Caroom said. “It will take four weeks to get the materials and five to six weeks to do the installation. We need about two and half months lead time.”
Revisiting a question regarding the Special Use of School Vehicles policy which stated “School buses may be used only for the transportation of school personnel on authorized school business,” Assistant Superintendant Linda Foster recommended revising the policy to allow both school employees as well as others on official school business to use the buses. The board approved the change.
The board also approved minor verbiage changes in several Instructional Program policies. Board member Chris Guess questioned the name of the Advanced College Placement policy which allows gifted high school seniors “to complete the 12th grade at a participating institution of higher learning.” Guess said the name invited confusion with advancement placement classes taken within the high school setting to earn college credit.
Foster will consult with the Tennessee School Board Association about the name confusion.
The board meets next for a work session on Dec. 4.

​Celebration of Technology Partnership


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“We welcome our many new friends at Ben Lomand,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell at the Nov. 14 ribbon cutting ceremony at duPont Library, celebrating the partnership with the local internet service provider Ben Lomand Connect. “The Ben Lomand connection gives the University redundancy and doubles our available bandwidth.”
When the connection went live in August, Ben Lomand became the University’s second fiber-optics provider.
The story began two years ago when an eight-hour internet service interruption at the University started a conversation about the need for a backup vendor.
McCardell recalled making a trip to Nashville with Monteagle businessman John Greeter to visit Senator Janice Bowling.
Former owner of Monteagle Builders Supply, Greeter’s working relationship with the University developed into a friendship with Vice-Chancellor Joel Cunningham and McCardell, in turn. “I like to help the University out in any way I can,” Greeter said.
A big fan of Ben Lomand, Greeter encouraged the University to consider Ben Lomand for its backup vendor, as did Senator Bowling.
Champion of fiber-optic internet technology and Ben Lomand Connect in particular, Bowling quickly realized “this group needs to meet this group. It was magical when it came together.”
“We had 8,781 devices connected last week,” McCardell said, “and over 4,800 of those were smart devices. There’s clearly a need and it’s clearly being met. Two-thirds of our traffic is now over the Ben Lomand connection.”
“We’re not just providers of service, but true partners,” said Ben Lomand General Manager and CEO Lisa Cope. “If you need us we’ll be there.”
Citing Ben Lomand’s reputation for top of the line service, Ben Lomand Tracy City District Manager Mike Birdwell said, “The University currently has one gigabit of bandwidth, but with just a phone call we can turn it up to 10 gigs.”
Cope hinted at the possible expansion of Ben Lomand fiber-optic service to non-University customers. “This partnership can be very meaningful to the communities around the University, as well.”
“Fiber costs a lot of money to run. We’ve talked about pre-selling,” Birdwell said. “We’d like to move out into the community. The conversation is in the early stages.”
“The University-Ben Lomand relationship is a partnership between a world institution and a world class provider,” Senator Bowling said. “Fiber is to the 21st century what electricity was to the 20th century. Not having fiber is like not having an interstate system. DSL is a pig trail.”

​Residents Raise Concerns about the Sewanee Village Plan


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Nov. 7 Sewanee Village Update meeting, Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor Frank Gladu fielded residents’ questions about hurdles the project posed.
Gladu described the Sewanee Village Plan as an “infill project” meaning a project rededicating space. Phase One of the Village Plan encompasses 45-acres in the downtown Sewanee vicinity. Projects the University hopes to see completed by 2022 include increasing residential housing and the redesign of the Highway 41A intersection.
Plans call for multi-family housing on the recently purchased tract of land on Prince Lane, Gladu said. “The conceptual drawing shows 39 units, six-plexes, eight-plexes, and maybe 12-plexes.”
“I’m in favor of infill. It’s the environmentally and socially right thing to do,” said Sewanee resident Sid Brown. Brown, though, expressed concerns about drainage, pointing to standing water on the grassy site. “This is a low area. More concrete will mean more storm water needing places to go.”
Resident Lucia Dale expressed similar concerns about the cluster of six to eight small cottage- court style homes proposed for a location across the street. “Drainage may kill the cottage court plan,” Dale said.
Dale suggested a nearby site calling for two single-family homes would be a better location for the cottage court.
“The plan may not happen as drawn,” Gladu said. “Input is important.”
Acknowledging drainage issues in the Parson’s Green residential area developed in 2010, Gladu stressed that a “different management structure” was in place now. “We need to do a better job on this.”
Gladu cited upstream storm water and downstream blockage as issues under review in a storm-water management study being conducted by the University.
Storm water is a major concern, Gladu agreed. “There are areas not built on now, and there’s a reason why.”
Dale also took issue with proposed redesign of the Highway 41A intersection, which calls for a narrowing of the highway from Kennerly Road to Kentucky Avenue.
Studies indicate narrowing the highway will slow down traffic, Gladu explained. “The highway will shrink to one lane in each direction.”
“We’re slowing down trucks and routing them through a green space,” Dale complained, noting the plan called for a village green as the focal point of the intersection. “Is that for the enjoyment of the truckers? This doesn’t make sense to me.”
Gladu said the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) was funding and designing the project with money in their safety budget. He hopes to see turn lanes and pedestrian activated crosswalks in TDOT’s design. He expects to receive the design by the end of December.
Turning to plans to relocate the bookstore to downtown between the post office and Tower Community Bank, Gladu said the building would have “a smaller footprint,” predicting a 5,000-7,000 square foot structure compared to the 10,000 square foot building housing the present bookstore. That space was larger than necessary, Gladu noted, pointing to changes in the way students acquired their textbooks.
“The architect selection process is underway. We hope to have a bookstore design by mid-2018,” Gladu said. He anticipated Barnes and Noble would “likely continue to operate the bookstore to start with,” but said the contract allowed for modifications to the arrangement.
Asked about hurdles to the grocery store proposed for the lot across from the present Sewanee Market, Gladu listed two needs: one, finding an operator, and two, determining what conditions would make the apartments proposed for the upper two levels of the building rentable.
In response to concerns the Sewanee Market would be torn down before a new grocery store was built, Gladu said, “We’re trying not to have any interruptions in service.”
Gladu acknowledged the need for a new Village Plan map more accurately reflecting proposed changes and what would remain the same.
He intends to hold Sewanee Village Update meetings on the first Tuesday of each month.
“What I get out of it is your questions and comments,” Gladu said. “I want to know what your concerns are.”

For more information go to sewanee.edu/village.

​Operation Noel

Providing Abundant Holidays for All

In just a few weeks, it will be Christmas. While many are already planning ahead about gifts to buy and food to eat, there are those not so fortunate. In our area, there are children who may not get presents and families that may not have an abundant holiday meal.
Each year the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD), in conjunction with FROST (the department’s Fund Raising Operational Support Team), organize the purchasing and distribution of food and toys for these families. All items will be delivered the morning of Dec. 23 by the SVFD and FROST.
But this important program cannot happen without help from the community. Please consider making a donation of money, nonperishable food items or new toys to Operation Noel this year and give back to your community this Christmas season.
Families eligible for Operation Noel must live in the following communities: Sewanee, Midway, Jump Off and Sherwood Road to the top of Sherwood Mountain (but not into Sherwood).
Every family needs to fill out a new application, even if they have received from Operation Noel before. An application ensures that organizers have all the pertinent information so they can provide for everyone in need. The application is on page 6 of this week’s issue of the Messenger. The deadline for returning applications is Monday, Dec. 11.
If you would like to make a donation of money, nonperishable food items or new unwrapped toys, please take items to the Fire Hall or the Police Department, both located behind duPont Library, or Print Services, located in the old Beta House. For more information call 598-3400 and leave a message.

​Actors to Read at ‘Tennessee Shorts’ Tonight

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

A Tony Award winner, a “Boardwalk Empire” star, and several local thespians will offer their oratory talents to “Tennessee Shorts” at Guerry Auditorium today (Friday), Nov. 10.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the night will feature the short stories of authors Erin McGraw, Tony Earley, Tiana Clark, Elizabeth Spencer and Kevin Wilson.
James Crawford, Sewanee associate theatre professor, is spearheading the event, which he hopes will become an annual tradition.
“I have wanted to put on a program like ‘Tennessee Shorts’ since the day I interviewed to teach theatre at Sewanee,” Crawford said. “This place has such an extraordinary literary history. It’s such a simple format, and one that I love: actors reading aloud beautifully written short stories. That’s what we all crave, isn’t it? A good story well told.”
Among the performers is Julie White, a prolific actress in TV, movies and on Broadway, and a 2007 Tony Award winner for best lead actress in a play. Two of White’s nephews attend the University of the South.
Joining White is Wrenn Schmidt, who played Julia Sagorsky in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” and also starred in the Cinemax horror series “Outcast.” Schmidt was Crawford’s student when he taught acting at Southern Methodist University.
“I loved his approach to the work, his compassion and his humor,” Schmidt said. “We’ve stayed in touch since I graduated. When Jim contacted me about ‘Tennessee Shorts,’ I jumped on board. It’s a great opportunity to experiment with storytelling in a different form.”
Schmidt, who is currently working on “The Looming Tower” for Hulu, said she’s feeling delighted and curious to perform “Instrument of Destruction” by Elizabeth Spencer, a Mississippi native best known for her novella “The Light in the Piazza.”
Spencer will be unable to make the event, but Wilson, author of “The Family Fang” which became a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman, is looking forward to seeing his short story “Mortal Kombat” performed.
“I’m really honored that Jim Crawford would choose my story for this event; we’re lucky to have him in Sewanee,” Wilson said. “And Erin McGraw is one of my favorite writers; Tony Earley was my mentor at Vanderbilt, and Tiana Clark is a friend of mine, so I’m really excited to see all of the performances.”
The associate professor of English at Sewanee said his story of “two teenaged boys obsessed with video games and trivia” is more serious than his usual work. Sewanee senior Will Burton-Edwards is tasked with being the voice for “Mortal Kombat.”
“I want to do this particular piece because it exposes a side of homosexuality that not a lot of the world gets to see,” Burton-Edwards said. “We see gay men as either flowery queers or as sexually repressed and bullied nobodies. We’ve managed to compartmentalize homosexuality into these two genres, when, at the end of the day, homosexual people are just as sexually complex and human as the rest of us.”
Burton-Edwards, a physics and theatre double major, has nine-years acting experience and studied abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Crawford will also read a story, along with Karen Proctor, a social innovator, former director of community relations for the NBA, and current special assistant to the provost at Sewanee.
“Tennessee Shorts” is inspired by “Texas Bound,” an event at the Dallas Museum of Art, where Texas actors read the works of Texas authors. Sewanee alum Carolyn Bess is director of the museum’s Arts & Letters Live program, which coordinates “Texas Bound.” She said the event there has included readings by the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, Luke Wilson and Kathy Bates and the work of authors such as Larry McMurtry, Sandra Cisneros and Steve Martin.
Crawford consulted with Bess when designing the Tennessee event. Bess said she gave him the same advice she does her own team.
“I approach planning an evening of stories as I would a menu for a dinner party, by choosing an appetizer, entrée and a dessert. So that there is variety among the stories, make sure to balance the heavier, meatier entrée (which might be darker and more serious) with stories that are light-hearted, humorous, and whimsical,” Bess said.
“Tennessee Shorts” contains adult language and themes. The event is free.

​58th Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols

The 58th annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at the University of the South will be celebrated at three services, two on Dec.2 (5 and 8 p.m.), and one on Dec. 3 (5 p.m.).

After accommodating ticket requests from students, faculty, staff, and their families, the University expects that the number of places available to the public for reservation may be severely limited. If space at any of the services will be available to the general public, guests will be able to reserve a maximum of two seats online beginning Wednesday, Nov. 15. All tickets will be available for pickup at Convocation Hall. Unused tickets, if any, will be made available to walk-up guests (guests without a reservation) before each service. Walk-up guests must check in at Convocation Hall 30 minutes before the service to be placed on a waiting list.
The Festival Service of Lessons and Carols offers the opportunity to experience one of the oldest traditions of Anglican music and Advent expectation. As part of the University’s outreach, All Saints’ Chapel is pleased to welcome the public by offering any available places in the service for reservation.

​Blue Chair Tavern to Host Comedy Night

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

“I’m sick of following my dreams, I’m just going to ask where they’re going and hook up with them later.”—Comedian Mitch Hedberg
People who are hilarious at home folding socks, or tell jokes wherever they can, be it the men’s bathroom or the church picnic, have a chance to share their humor at the Blue Chair Tavern tonight (Friday) at 9 p.m.
Freddy Saussy, a manager at the Tavern, is one of the organizers of comedy night.
“I thought this would be a fun place to do it,” he said. It’s a pretty intimate audience situation and there’s often awesome energy. It can make for a pretty fun time.”
Saussy, whose favorite comedians are Richard Pryor and Steve Martin, said he’s picked up a few jokes bartending at the Tavern.
“Sewanee’s not short of comedic characters,” he said.
Jimmy Wilson, Blue Chair owner, said a comedy night is a natural addition to other events there, such as Sewanee Spoken Word, Trivia Night and bingo.
“We’re going to let it run on Friday nights and see how it goes,” he said. “You hear so many jokes at the bar, about 50 percent of them are good.”
Wilson won’t be able to attend tonight, but he said he has some jokes he might share in the future.
“My jokes are true stories, it’s just whether people think they’re funny or they think I was mischievous or a little off my rocker. But most of those occurred in my college days, so the statute of limitations has run out,” he said.
Those who want to perform can sign up for a five-minute slot by stopping by the Blue Chair or calling (931) 598-5434. Comedians can also take the mic the night of the show.

​SES a Winner of the Good Sports Always Recycle™ School Challenge

Sewanee Elementary School was recently recognized for its school environmental program as one of the 10 winners of the 2017 Good Sports Always Recycle™ (GSAR) school challenge. Sewanee was awarded $1,000, and Kim and Scott Tucker represented the school as the winners and were recognized on the field at the University of Tennessee versus Southern Miss football game.

“Teaching our students to be good stewards of our environment is vital for the sustainability of the earth,” said Kim Tucker, principal at Sewanee Elementary School. “Beginning this during their early years allows us to instill the recycling mindset as students are forming their thoughts and opinions about everything they encounter.”
This is the 24th year for the competition, and the 2017 winning schools included Saint Dominic Catholic School and John Adams Elementary School, Kingsport; South Lawrence School, Loretto; The Farm School, Summertown; Norris Middle School, Norris; Sewanee Elementary School, Sewanee; Gallatin Senior High School, Gallatin; and Haynesfield Elementary School, Bristol. South Knoxville Elementary School was honored as the Best New Program, and Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga received the Sustainability Steward Award.
Sewanee recycles items including plastic, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard. The school utilizes motion sensor lights to conserve energy, and many students walk or bike to school to reduce emissions. 
Additionally, the school established its “Tigers Don’t Leave Tracks” program to encourage reusable bags, and local businesses have supported the program by promoting reusable bags, and through donations and prizes.
The school also recently held a lunch audit to teach students about food waste, reusables, recyclables and compostables, and today the school focuses on litterless lunch. Sewanee is working with University of the South to assist with its litterless lunch audit.
The GSAR program, which is sponsored by Eastman, Waste Connections and Food City, in cooperation with the University of Tennessee, has awarded more than $160,000 to K-12 schools in Tennessee for their environmental programs.

The GSAR program also includes an online educational packet, available at , which helps teachers with lesson plans as well as gives ideas for schools looking to establish or strengthen their programs.

​Monteagle Fire Department Improves ISO Rating


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“The ISO score decrease will mean a decrease in homeowners insurance premiums,” Fire Chief Mike Holmes announced at the Oct. 30 Monteagle Town Council meeting, reporting on the results of a recent inspection. The council discussed funding options for the turnout gear needed by the fire department and whether to demolish all or only a portion of the old fire hall. In other business, the council approved deannexation of the section of the Deepwoods development still in the city limits.
“The fire department’s ISO (Insurance Service Officer) rating was reduced from six to five,” Holmes said. “That’s pretty good for a volunteer fire department.”
Looking to the future, Holmes stressed the need for turnout gear for the four trainees. “I can’t send them to the final practicum in gear with tears and holes. It’s not safe for them to go into a fire.” The gear cost $3,000 per set: tops, bottoms, helmet and boots.
“The gear isn’t in the budget,” Mayor David Sampley said.
Vice-Mayor Jessica Blalock suggested sale of the department’s 1981 truck, estimated value $8,000-$15,000, would pay for most of the gear. The council approved the sale in February. The department no longer uses the truck, which has pump and tank leaks.
Sampley will consult with Utility Department Supervisor John Condra regarding the department’s possible interest in purchasing the truck.
“They’ve used it in the past,” Holmes said.
Turning to the demolition of the old fire hall, Sampley said plans called for tearing down just the condemned structure.
Holmes said the building the city intended to leave in place flooded and had mold problems.
Blalock questioned whether there would be adequate parking for a new fire hall if the city did not tear down both buildings on the lot and argued it would cost less to demolish both buildings at once.
Sampley said the call for bids in the Messenger and Grundy County Herald only received one reply. He asked for prices on tearing the buildings down separately and together. The city will expand the bid search to the Franklin County and Coffee County newspapers.
Reporting on the notification sent to the four businesses in violation of the new ordinance requiring a fence screening any lots with conveyances in a “junked condition,” Codes Enforcement Officer Earl Geary said one business removed the conveyances in question, but the other three have not responded. The ordinance requires businesses in violation to begin construction of a fence in 30 days. “I think they’re going to fight it,” Geary said.
Police Chief Virgil McNeese will issue citations to the three businesses in violation of the ordinance requiring them to appear in court. Whether to impose the $50 per day fine called for by the ordinance will be up to the judge, Geary noted.
Responding to a request from Deepwoods’ residents, the council approved on first reading the deannexation of the portion of the development still in the city limits. In February, the council approved a similar request from another group of Deepwoods residents who cited the need for road maintenance. Monteagle does not levy an income tax and lacked funds to maintain the roads.
The council also approved giving Walmart gift cards to all city employees at Thanksgiving and giving fruit baskets to senior citizens. After discussion, the council approved $150 Christmas bonuses for part-time employees and $250 bonuses for full-time employees. In each case, the council raised the amount awarded last year by $50 to cover the taxes assessed on the holiday bonuses.
Updating the council on plans for the Christmas parade scheduled for 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, Blalock said awards would be given for the best decorated float and the float best representing the theme “A Disney Christmas.” The city will also give awards for the best decorated business and home. Tower Community Bank will provide refreshments during Santa’s visit at Harton Park following the parade.

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