​Up In Smoke BBQ Café & Gifts: a Country Feel with Exotic Flare

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Stopping for a meal at Up In Smoke is a little like visiting a quirky favorite aunt who serves you her signature hickory smoked pulled pork sandwich and charms you into lingering with a basket of magazines, coloring books and puzzles. “I want it to feel like home, a place to relax and forget your trouble,” said Audrey Morgan, who with her husband Roger and son Colton, own and operate Up In Smoke BBQ Café & Gifts. And homey it is, but there’s a wink to the exotic in the menu and charming French country décor.
The signature Smokin’ Pig sandwich features a quarter pound of hickory smoked pulled pork barbecue, ham, bacon, American cheese, and chipotle mustard grilled on a hoagie bun. On the popular Cuban sandwich, the Creole marinated pulled pork hints at orange bitters, garlic, lime, and oregano, the nod to the Caribbean joined by ham, Swiss cheese and pickles.
For those not tempted by hickory smoked pulled pork made fresh daily, Up In Smoke offers beef brisket, loaded potatoes, nachos, burgers, an array of specialty sandwiches like chicken salad on a croissant, and a large selection of homemade desserts and pies.
For the vegetarian minded, the café has several hearty salads. The nutritious Health Nut includes spring mixed greens, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, red onion, and feta cheese with a raspberry vinaigrette.
The plate lunch special changes daily. A recent plate lunch featured New York style chicken scampi. “Business has really amped up since we added plate lunches,” Audrey said. “Often it’s standing room only, and that wasn’t my intention, although I’m happy for the business.”
Up In Smoke welcomes to-go orders. Family packs are especially popular according to Audrey. In fair weather people often go to nearby Harton Park to eat. The café seats 12, with outside seating coming soon, as well as rent-a-picnic-basket meals with both hot and cold picnic options.
Audrey does the country cooking and desserts, son Colton is the grill cook and specialty sandwich chef, and Roger works the front and does the smoking.
Up In Smoke opened last fall. For three years Roger operated a food truck with the same name as the café along with working as a 911 dispatcher. Audrey worked in food services as a cook for 10 years. Opening a café seemed like a natural next step. “I wanted to work for myself,” she said.
At the gift shop, customers will find jewelry, marble collectibles and country décor items. “It’s all stuff I love,” said Audrey, who takes inspiration from shopping in historic Savannah, Ga., during their annual family visits.
Up In Smoke, located at 73 College St., in Monteagle, is open Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Sunday after church an especially busy time.
Roger was raised in Tracy City and Audrey hails from nearby Warren County. “I was born and raised country,” she said. “I want people to get their money’s worth. No one ever leaves here hungry. I want Up In Smoke to be a happy place, a place to come and stretch, play cards if you like, and be comfortable. A place where folks want to pop in just to say, ‘hi.’”

Local Cave Music Venue Opens

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

March 24 marked the beginning of music in the former “Big Mouth Cave” in Pelham, about 20 minutes from Sewanee.

Billy Strings, a power bluegrass act, and Sweet Lizzy Project, a rock band hailing from Havana, Cuba, opened the venue with a live TV taping of “Bluegrass Underground,” a PBS show that had filmed at Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville since 2008.
Todd Mayo, creator of Bluegrass Underground, purchased Big Mouth Cave, now known as “The Caverns,” with about 15 acres off  of Payne Cove Road last year to create a permanent site for the show as well as feature a subterranean music venue closer to Chattanooga, Nashville and Atlanta.
Mayo said he had a lot of “positive nervousness” before the first performance on March 24, which was a sell-out.
“Nobody’s ever turned a wild cave into a concert hall before,” he said. “First time that’s ever happened in the history of the world, so I was a little nervous. But ultimately, I was excited because we have such an amazing crew and the hard work had already been done.
“It was a surreal moment and an amazing moment,” he added. “…It’s the world’s oldest and newest, and probably coolest, music venue.”
Lisset Díaz Guevara, singer and songwriter for Sweet Lizzy Project, also called the experience “surreal” and said this was her first time performing in a cave.
“We were in love with this show since the very first time we saw the picture of the cave on Todd’s business card in Havana, Cuba,” she said. “The place is beautiful, the crew is extremely professional and we loved the audience!
“We were the very first artists performing at that cave and it was our first concert in the USA, so that show, the cave, Bluegrass Underground and the Mayos will always have a very special place in our memories and our hearts.”
Díaz Guevara said after being worried about the sound in a natural cave, she was impressed by the quality and beauty of the acoustics. Mayo said when designing acoustics, you try to eliminate angles and even surfaces, but the cave had already done the work over many, many years.
“Water and time sort of entwined to make these amazing acoustics because there’s all these uneven surfaces,” he said. “I was super pleased with the audio and the lighting. It was like we uncovered a treasure. We’ve been carefully excavating dirt one bucket loader at a time for months.”
The Caverns combines Tennessee’s natural beauty and musical heritage and culture, Mayo noted.
Artist manager Cliff Seltzer, 68, was one of the show’s attendees.
“The new cave is spectacular and exceeded all my expectations,” he said.
For more information on The Caverns and upcoming shows, visit thecaverns.com.

​SUD Swears in Evans; Discusses Accounting Practices and Backflow Policy

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the March 27 meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Sewanee Utility District of Franklin and Marion Counties, Paul Evans was sworn in to serve a four-year term as commissioner. Determining what financial transactions needed review in order to avoid an audit citation for “inadequate segregation of duties” dominated the discussion during much of the meeting.
In November, the board decided to hire an independent contractor to provide third-party verification of financial transactions. Like the many other small utilities in Tennessee, SUD’s audit routinely cites the utility for “inadequate segregation of duties.” SUD’s small office staff of three employees is insufficient to provide the level of financial oversight required by the state comptroller.
SUD Board President Charlie Smith estimated reviewing financial transactions would take four to five hours a month. The 2018 SUD budget allocated $150 per month to compensate the person or firm hired to perform the review.
Based on information from the comptroller and a recent Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) commissioner training, Smith compiled a list of duties for the person providing oversight.
“There seems to be uncertainty as to whether the description of duties meets the comptroller’s requirement,” Evans observed. Evans suggested SUD consult their accounting firm for verification.
Smith said SUD did not employ an accounting firm, only an annual auditor.
The board discussed asking the auditor’s advice. SUD manager Ben Beavers pointed out that the auditor was interested in the job.
“They couldn’t be our auditor if they were doing the monthly review,” Smith noted. But he said he preferred “to keep the CPA bunch for potential auditors” and hire a local individual to perform the review.
“You don’t need a CPA for this,” Evans agreed.
Smith will seek the opinion of SUD auditor Mark Allen on what financial transactions needed review to satisfy the comptroller’s segregation of duties requirement.
A TAUD recommended service, which satisfies the requirement, charges $300 per month to review a utility’s financial transactions.
“That’s not an insurmountable amount,” Beavers said. “It’s well worth getting it taken care of if it costs no more than that. Getting this off our audit is what I want.”
Commissioner Randall Henley introduced a discussion about portable drinking machines requiring backflow prevention devices to keep foreign fluids and contaminants from entering the water supply. “A lot of places with drinking machines need backflow devices and don’t have them,” Henley observed.
Beavers said he didn’t believe drinking machines were included in the SUD backflow policy’s list of circumstances requiring a backflow prevention device. He noted the state routinely added new circumstances to the list, and the SUD policy hadn’t been updated in several years.
Beavers will check on the most recent state requirements and recommend review of the 40-page policy.
Scenarios requiring a backflow device include irrigation systems, wells, and any system with chemical feed. A loss of pressure can result in foreign and contaminated fluids being sucked into the drinking water supply.
In his manager’s report, Beavers commented on recent wastewater collection overflows at the Bob Stewman Road and Alto Road pumping stations. “Both overflow’s occurred due to check valves’ sticking,” Beavers said. “The system wasn’t overload,” Beavers stressed. “The overflows occurred due to mechanical failure. That’s an important distinction.” The valve at the Bob Stewman road site was repaired. The valve at the Alto Road site is being replaced.
The SUD board meets next on April 24.

​Event Ponders Slavery’s Role in Colleges

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer
As dozens of colleges and universities delve into their imperfect pasts, one fact will remain—the slave economy was instrumental in the development and growth of higher education in this country.
But Craig Steven Wilder, a prominent scholar on the historical relationships between colleges and slavery, said by unblinkingly facing and embracing sins of the past, “there is a better story to be told” moving forward.
“There’s nothing in our archives that we need to be afraid of,” he said.
In a darkened Convocation Hall, lit only by large windows looking out onto gray skies and wind-whipped trees, Wilder spoke to a hearty crowd on March 26 about the impact of the slave trade on early colleges.
The Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation sponsored the lecture, which was part of a series of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Slavery Project, similar to current historical undertakings at many other universities, is aimed at examining Sewanee’s ties to slavery, the Confederacy and the Antebellum South.
Woody Register, director of Sewanee’s project, said on March 27 that Wilder’s lecture was encouraging to the effort.
“What was especially galvanizing for us was Professor Wilder’s enthusiastic support of our project and his stated belief that we are engaged in important work, for our campus and for the larger and national project of understanding how essential slavery was to the history of higher education in this country,” Register said.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Wilder is a history professor, is also reconciling with its own past, he said. Wilder said it’s a past that includes endowments from slaveowners and capitalizing on engineering opportunities related to the slave trade, cotton production and the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War.
The earliest colleges in this country relied on benefactors whose wealth was directly or indirectly due to slave trading and labor, and plantation owners and others who boasted slave labor, he said.
“In the business of education, slavery was a way out of financial ruin,” Wilder said.
In 1718, Welsh merchant Elihu Yale, an East India slave trader, donated 400 books, cash and a painting of George I to the Collegiate School in New Haven, Conn., Wilder said. School leaders renamed the school “Yale” in his honor.
Nicholas Brown, Sr., co-founder of the College of Rhode Island, which eventually became Brown University, was a slaveholder, and there were slave traders on the college’s board, Wilder noted.
The Revolutionary War devastated colleges and some such as Harvard, moved temporarily inland, away from the dangers of being in port cities. When the institutions moved, they wanted benefactors with slaves, who could help re-establish campuses and assist students and faculty.
“Colleges sought out towns with the largest concentrations of slaves,” Wilder said.
For Harvard, the oldest college in the country, that meant temporarily moving from the coast to Concord, Mass., where slavery was “ordinary,” Wilder said.
Despite the devastation, after the war, college growth exploded in this country and ties with the slave economy grew stronger, Wilder said. He noted there were 18 new colleges established between 1783 and 1800.
School trustees, presidents and leaders were clamoring for money from people who owned slaves, sold slaves and benefitted from slaves, especially those benefactors from the South.
Wilder cited an example of John “Jacky” Custis moving onto the campus of King’s College, which became Columbia University, with his personal slave in tow. Custis was the stepson of General George Washington and the college did everything it could to cater to the family, Wilder said, in an effort to gain favor with the wealthy planter class.
Princeton and other colleges also lobbied hard for southern men to come to school in the North and increased their relationships with those benefitting directly from the slave economy, he said.
William & Mary, the oldest southern college and second oldest college in the country, had trouble attracting students from its home of Virginia, in part because of aggressive recruiting by northern schools. Wilder noted that William & Mary promoted the evangelism of Native Americans to help with fundraising in Europe.
Register said Wilder’s historical insights were important in positioning Sewanee in context.
“In talking about the central importance of slavery to the development of colleges and academies after the American Revolution, Dr. Wilder placed Sewanee’s own history in the stream of higher education development in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,” Register said. “Our history is distinctive in important ways, but at the same time, as his lecture made clear, the solid foundation of the slave-based global economy of that period accounted for the dynamic growth of institutions from New England through the Mid-Atlantic to the Cumberland Plateau in 1856-1857, when the idea of a ‘Southern University’ took form and won the support of the South’s wealthiest planters and financiers—the billionaires of that day.”
For more information on the Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, visit sewanee.edu/sewanee-slavery.

​Monteagle Council Appoints Terrill Alderman; Discusses Critical Need for Road Repair

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the March 26 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council unanimously voted to appoint Ron Terrill to fill the alderman seat vacated by Chris Ladd. Ladd, who recently married and moved to Tracy City, sent a letter to the council announcing his resignation. Terrill also chairs the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Codes Enforcement officer Earl Geary said he’d given 30-day notice on a “nonconforming RV parked behind the Mexican restaurant.” According to Geary, employees spent the night there if they worked early the next day. He observed what appeared to be the hose for the septic system lying on the ground.
Vice Mayor Jessica Blalock asked about the church on Layne Ave. “The roof has completely caved in,” Blalock said. Geary said he’d had difficulty determining who owned the property. “The lady who told me she bought it said she didn’t have the money to tear the structure down,” Geary explained. Geary said the city could tear the building down and put a lien on the property for the demolition cost, but they could encounter difficulty recapturing the expense.
Reporting on the cost of installing two playground sets at Harton Park, Blalock said she received a quote for $7,342 and the other companies she contacted insisted “they couldn’t beat that.” Blalock is also investigating whether to surface the area beneath the playground sets with wood mulch or rubber mulch. Wood mulch costs less, but deteriorates and requires frequent replacement, Blalock said. Rubber mulch costs more but would never need replaced. In response to suggestions to use sand or pea gravel for mulch, Blalock said dogs and cats urinating and defecating in sand posed a problem. Pea gravel could result in injuries to children who fell.
“State regulations require five inches of mulch beneath the younger kids playground and eight inches beneath the higher playground set for older kids,” Blalock said.
Another cost versus durability issue arose in the discussion about the need for road resurfacing on Laurel Lake Drive. Mayor David Sampley said he requested quotes in the fall, but received no replies. “The tar and chip surface there now isn’t thick enough,” Sampley insisted, but he didn’t recommend paving the road. “There’s so much construction there, it would just be torn up.”
Sampley speculated the contractors he contacted wanted “higher dollar paving jobs. They don’t want to do tar and chip.”
He also pointed to budget restrictions, with only $75,000 allocated to road repair in the current year’s budget. Franklin County advised him paving cost $100,000 per mile, with a mile and half needing resurfaced on Laurel Lake Drive.
A resident asked why the city repaired the parking lot in front of the Subway restaurant. Sampley explained the repaired area was on the city right of way. Sampley sympathized with the need for resurfacing on Laurel Lake Drive, calling the road condition “awful.”
“We want to do the whole road out there, not just patch holes,” Sampley said.
He plans to increase the amount for road repair in next year’s budget.
“There are four roads in absolutely horrible condition,” Blalock said.
In other business, the council approved a resolution authorizing disposal of surplus property including a fire truck, three pickup trucks, and other miscellaneous equipment. The property will be listed for sale on the government surplus auction site GovDeals.
The council also approved the fire department’s request to purchase three sets of turnout gear, cost $3,000 each. The department intends to purchase turnout gear “on a rotating basis, so we don’t break the bank,” said fire fighter Jeremy Blalock, reporting on the department’s behalf.
The council also approve on second reading an ordinance updating the Building Codes regulations to the 2012 standard and a request to rezone a tract of land from residential to commercial to accommodate a mulch business.

​Moving Forward After Rose Revocation

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer
Some Sewanee students and alumni say revoking the honorary degree of former journalist Charlie Rose took too long, but praised the student activism that helped make it happen.
“I am so supremely proud of the students who headed the revocation,” said senior Alena Kochinski. “It was just simply the right thing to do. But it wasn’t an easy one. It took a lot of guts. And the amount of time the University left students in the dark compared to the student reaction, it was striking.”
Saunders Drukker, who graduated in 2017, said the revocation may not move the fight against sexual misconduct forward on campus, but the students’ response to the University’s inaction will.
“The student body of Sewanee, through their protests and their united voice, revoked Charlie Rose’s honorary degree,” Drukker said. “Students and student organizations like the WICK, with their decision to not ‘just let it go’ revoked Charlie Rose’s honorary degree. In an inspiring upset the students made this decision; thankfully the school itself finally caught up.”
The Board of Regents voted on March 20 to revoke the degree, utilizing a new four-step process for revoking honorary degrees, something the University of the South had not done in its150-year history. The process for revocation requires a formal request for revocation to the Vice Chancellor, followed by at least a two-thirds majority vote by the Joint Regent-Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees, the University Senate, and the Board of Regents. Vice Chancellor John McCardell cited not previously having a process in place as a prime reason the revocation could not move forward.
The Board of Regents has final authority in both granting and revoking degrees. Several members of the Board of Regents declined to comment on the revocation, citing confidentiality. The University also issued a statement saying the process was confidential.
McCardell, a non-voting member of the Board of Regents, said Rose has been notified of the revocation and stated that it is time to move forward.
The University awarded Rose the 2016 honorary degree for his decades-long success in journalism, but a Washington Post article in November 2017 cited at least eight women who claimed that Rose had sexually harassed them. Rose acknowledged past inappropriate behavior, but also said not all claims were factual. The CBS This Morning show fired Rose as an anchor and his eponymous interview show on PBS was also cancelled.
In the next few months, Sewanee students organized a petition calling for the University to rescind Rose’s honorary degree and in February 2018, in a letter responding to a revocation request from student trustees, the Board of Regents stated it would take no action on the degree and as an institution governed by the Episcopal Church, called for forgiveness of Rose and not condemnation of a sinner.
That letter ignited a student-led rally on Feb. 22 on the University Quad, as well as additional petitions and letters from staff, faculty and Sewanee community members. A student-created group, “Speak Up Sewanee,” also organized a protest that called for not wearing academic gowns until the University revoked Rose’s degree.
Drukker called it “shameful” that the University took so long to revoke the honorary degree and missed a chance to be at the forefront of a cultural change in attitude toward sexual misconduct. He said Rose proved that he was not someone “worthy of our honor.”
“I understand, though don’t necessarily agree with, the school’s desire to show forgiveness, but I do not know a world where honor and forgiveness are joined at the hip,” he said. “It is fully possible to forgive wrongdoing while still rescinding accolades. That being said, I don’t think Charlie Rose showed a spirit of repentance for his actions, and as such is not at this point in the position of being forgiven.”
Drukker said he is hopeful the activist attitude sticks around campus and people continue to be angry about the way sexual assault is treated at Sewanee.
Kochinski said it will take time to heal after this controversy.
“I am still upset with the University; it will take time to fix that—if it can be fixed. However, the support the students have for one another and for the movement makes me absolutely thrilled and honored to be enrolled here,” she said.
Students need to “keep our voices loud” and hold one other accountable in the fight against sexual misconduct.
“I have no doubt this can happen, but it’s hard to fight the good fight and get that 10-page paper done by Friday,” she said. “This shouldn’t be all left to the students, we need more help from the administration. More outlets for conversation, and punishment for offenders,” Kochinski said.
McCardell has stated that Sewanee takes the issue very seriously and is continuing to make strides in combating sexual misconduct. Dean Marichal Gentry and professor Kelly Malone chair a task force that is developing new recommendations concerning sexual misconduct on campus.

​Brian Jordan Alvarez: a Homegrown Actor to Watch

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
In 2010, Brian Jordan Alvarez found himself driving back to Los Angeles after visiting his family in Winchester, Tenn. Just out of college, on the drive he listened to an audio book offering career advice to aspiring actors suggesting they find an agent by researching actors they considered to be at the same level. Alvarez zeroed in on actor Paul Dano, only to discover Dano was “a big star represented by Creative Artists Agency.” Alvarez remembers thinking, “I have so far to go. It felt like such a high mountain.”
CAA represents some of the top stars in Hollywood. Today, Alavarez is among them. On April 5, Alvarez will make a guest appearance on the season finale episode of the NBC sitcom “Will and Grace.”
Alvarez grew up in Winchester, attended Broadview Elementary School and later St. Andrew’s-Sewanee, where he played Nicely-Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls” his freshman year. His junior year, he played Benny Southstreet opposite Nicely-Nicely in the University of the South’s production of the play.
Alvarez spent his senior year at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts program for high school students. The intensive drama program paved the way for him to earn a degree in acting at the University of Southern California.
Alvarez has appeared in the TV series “Two Broke Girls,” “The Great Indoors,” “Hot In Cleveland,” and several times in “Jane the Virgin” and “Get Shorty.”
Alvarez wrote, produced, directed, and stars in “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo,” a widely popular YouTube series that played at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for a Gotham Award.
A new script, “Doc Holiday,” features a gay group therapist who moves back to Tennessee from LA. The project is ready “to be pitched to the networks,” Alvarez said, but is on hold pending the outcome of another project he’s involved in, “Stupid Idiots.”
Written by his friend Stephani Koenig, “Stupid Idiots” stars Alvarez and Koenig and, like “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo,” achieved wide popularity on YouTube. Last year performing in Montreal in conjunction with being selected as one of Variety’s “Top Ten Comics to Watch in 2017,” Alvarez played clips from “Stupid Idiots.” The cable channel Comedy Central took an interest in the show and plans to shoot a pilot in the next couple of months.
In the upcoming episode of “Will and Grace,” Alvarez plays Estefan, the new fiancé of lead-character Jack. Alvarez considers it especially fitting that Estefan hails from Spain. Alvarez grew up speaking Spanish with a grandfather from Spain and a mother from Columbia, University of the South Spanish professor Angela Alvarez Jordan.
The two tapings of the final episode in front of a live audience were well received, Alvarez said. “The laughs were real, not laugh tracks,” he pointed out. “That’s what the writers are working for.” Prior to the tapings, the audience viewed a few pre-taped scenes so the story line would make sense.
“It’s cool to get to see yourself,” Alvarez said. “It felt like I woke up from a dream, and they brought back “Will and Grace,” and I got to be in it”—which may be exactly what happens.
Alvarez now has two projects in the stream flow for next season, “Stupid Idiots” and “Will and Grace” with Estefan as a possible regular. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, to see Alvarez in this season’s final episode, tune into NBC Thursday, April 5, at 8 p.m.

​SCFP Forms Due April 1

The Sewanee Community Funding Project (SCFP) is seeking proposals for physical improvements and amenities on the Domain that will enhance the community and improve the quality of life in Sewanee when completed.

The SCFP is funded by the University of the South and is sponsored by the Community Council.
The forms are available at the Sewanee Post Office, Regions Bank and the Sewanee Community Center. These forms are due April 1. The form is also available here: SCFP Form.
Nonprofit groups, organizations and individuals are encouraged to submit proposals. Email completed forms to <sewaneecfproject@gmail.com> or mail to Pixie Dozier at 133 Carriage Lane, Sewanee TN 37375.

​Community Chest Recipient Thanks SCA for ‘Miracles’

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“You are a part of every miracle,” Blue Monarch Development Coordinator Kate Cataldo told Sewanee Civic Association members at the March 14 meeting. “Thank you for saying, ‘yes.’”
A residential addiction recovery program for mothers and their children, Blue Monarch is among the 30 groups and organizations slated to receive Community Chest funding in the 2017–18 grant cycle. The Community Chest provides financial support for projects and programs that improve the quality of life in Sewanee and the surrounding vicinity.
The Blue Monarch addiction recovery program is “very niche because we recover the entire family,” Cataldo said.
With a goal of breaking and destroying the cycle of poverty, abuse and addiction “for not just moms, but their children as well,” the Blue Monarch program recognizes that most women come to them from “generations of abuse and addiction.” Many were sexually abused as children and taught to use drugs by age 11.
The mothers participate in hands-on parenting classes, a job readiness course, and other life-skill activities as well as academic course work. “Education is very important to us,” Cataldo said. “We help them accomplish their goal, whatever it is.” Some women receive their GED, while others study to become LPNs or pursue a bachelor’s degree.
The daughter of one Blue Monarch mother remembers learning to play the piano there. The birthday wish of an eight-year-old boy now living in Memphis was to visit Blue Monarch, his home when he was three.
“Because of the family dynamic, Blue Monarch feels like a home, not a hospital,” Cataldo stressed. The program has served more than 700 women and children with a waiting list of 80 applicants. At the present, Blue Monarch can serve 16 families, but they hope to expand to 24. They recently added four resident cottages so women who have completed the program can continue to live on the Blue Monarch campus as they transition back into independent living.
Blue Monarch is among a long list of Community Chest recipients who receive funding every year. “We wouldn’t exist without you,” Cataldo said.
SCA secretary Megan Roberts encouraged community residents who haven’t yet donated this year to make a contribution. The organization has raised 61 percent of this year’s goal. “In the past, we’ve been very close to reaching our goal by now,” Roberts said.
Make a donation with Pay Pal by visiting sewaneecivic.wordpress.com or mail donations to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375.
The SCA has also been a leader in maintaining and refurbishing community parks, Elliott Park a recent success story, with the Sewanee Ballpark the focus of current efforts. SCA Parks Committee Chair Stephen Burnett said negotiations are underway with the University to establish a Parks Commission to oversee upkeep and maintenance of community parks.
The SCA is seeking nominations for the offices of president and vice president. Those interested in serving or who want to make a nomination should contact Roberts at mgrobert@sewanee.edu. At the final meeting of the year on April 18, the SCA will elect officers and present the Community Service Award.

​Spoken Word to Host Slavery Project Readings

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

Historical figures with divisive racial convictions and deep connections to the University of the South will gain fresh attention on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at Sewanee Spoken Word.
The bi-weekly event at the Blue Chair Café & Tavern will feature readings from research compiled by the University’s Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation, a six-year exploration of Sewanee’s roots and historical ties to the Confederacy and Antebellum South.
“Sewanee Spoken Word, in addition to being free, offers a pretty unusual opportunity for social and cultural cross-pollination,” said Brooks Egerton, an organizer of the event. “Our sessions generally include not just faculty and students, but also quite a few people who have no connection to the University. You’ll almost certainly meet someone new and interesting; you’re likely to hear something thought-provoking.”
Tanner Potts, research associate for the Slavery Project, will read Rev. Wm. T. Leacock’s 1860 Thanksgiving sermon in which the University trustee urges Louisiana to secede from the Union. Potts said Leacock and other priests in New Orleans were jailed by occupying Union forces for refusing to include President Lincoln in the Episcopal Church’s “Prayers of the People.”
In addition, David Johnson, C’19, will read from his research on the Quitman family and John A. Quitman, a University benefactor who supported the filibuster movement in the 1850s and sent resources to incite revolutions in the Caribbean, Egerton said. After the Civil War, two of Quitman’s daughters lived where the Hunter Dorm now stands.
Elizabeth Chandler, C’20, will also present letters from Jessie Ball duPont, who gave millions to the University in the 1950s and 60s, with the caveat of keeping the University segregated.
“I think what will be most surprising is the indentations left by these figures on our physical place,” Potts said. “You can walk by Hunter Dorm or the duPont library and miss this history, but, as an institution that prides itself in place based studies, we still have so much to learn about ourselves. Our hope, as I believe Slavery Project Director Woody Register mentioned at our last forum, is for people to think about these icons, memorials and figures on their own.”
Potts said both Chandler and Johnson spent time in the University Archives and Special Collections researching the historical figures with a goal of publishing their own scholarship.
“One of our project goals is to make the archives and the history of the University more accessible; hopefully presentations in the community, performed by students, leads to more involvement,” he said.
Sewanee Spoken Word, previously known as Sewanee Poetry Night, is now in its third year and has branched out to include a variety of expressions.
“These gatherings at the Blue Chair began as celebrations of poetry, and poetry remains a mainstay. But there’s so much other creative activity around here—fiction being written, plays, memoirs, essays, songs and more—that the evolution seemed quite natural,” Egerton said.

​Arts Provides Expression, Hope for Inmates

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

The first basket that Crissy Bridges made while incarcerated, woven from strips of T-shirts, she gifted to her grandmother.
Rose Edwards, “the rock” of the family who loves to knit toboggans, was happy that her granddaughter learned a crafting skill. But Bridges said besides a new connection with Rose, the Arts Inside program at the Grundy County Detention Center gave her a belief in herself.
“It made me realize that I had more potential than what I thought,” she said recently at a local restaurant.
Bridges, who was released in November after serving 18 months in jail, was part of the initial Arts Inside class in January 2017. Arts Inside, a 501c3, is under the umbrella of the jail’s re-entry to society program.
The volunteers that help with the art classes also offered Bridges a lifeline.
“It gives you a sense that you’re not left there and forgot about,” she said, fighting back tears. “You get to go to these classes and these ladies come back every week and make sure that you have something to do while you’re there. I mean, they care about you.”
Bridges’ baskets and the artwork and crafts of other women currently in the program will be part of a show from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, at the Grundy County Courthouse. The public is invited.
Arts Inside initially started out serving only female inmates, but has expanded to include men, as well as adding writing classes, said Arts Inside director Hilda Vaughn. In addition to basket-weaving, topics have included drawing, painting with acrylics and water colors, collages, dream catchers and clay sculptures, she said.
“I feel like I get as much from them as they get from me,” Vaughan noted. “Just hearing their stories. Some of them are so talented and so wise that it’s just time well spent. It feels good to feel like we’re making a difference in some ways.”
The overarching re-entry program at the jail started in summer 2015, said Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum. In addition to art classes, the program includes offerings like Moral Recognizance Therapy (MRT), training on resumes and interviews, GED classes and job placement services.
Shrum said the creation of art challenges the inmates and is therapeutic.
“It gave them a way to express themselves,” he said. “What I feel like happened was it opened up their mind to some healing processes. ‘You know what, I can do this, I can put my thoughts on paper through art.’”
The sheriff was initially surprised by the interest in the art classes.
“We’ve got a lot of folks here who have a lot of artistic ability that just needs to be harvested from them,” he said.
Inmates who have participated in the re-entry program have shown improved behavior, Shrum noted, adding that there is also the incentive for reducing time in jail by participating in programs.
Bridges, a mother of a 9-year-old and a 16-year-old, earned her GED in jail and was active in other programs like greenhouse and garden, and the road crew.
“If you’re not in a program you’re sitting in a pod all day long with nothing to do, bored to death, staring at the walls,” she said. “I think without it, without me being able to get out and do these classes…I don’t think I would have been able to come and adapt as quickly as I have back into society.”
Inmates must qualify for the programs, which includes evaluations of their behavior and the crimes they have committed. Vaughan noted that the art program, which has a motto of “Perfect is boring,” are usually small, topping out at about six people per class.
“It feels like we have a lot of fun when we’re in there,” Vaughn said. “You can almost forget where we are, which I think is nice, just relating as human beings to one another.”
Vaughan, a grant writer for the Grundy County school system, volunteers her time for Arts Inside. She emphasized that without the help and support of the South Cumberland Community Fund, the Americorps VISTA program and Sheriff Shrum, the program would not be a success.
The art show on March 31 is sponsored by the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, Arts Inside, Grundy Area Arts Council, South Cumberland Community Fund, The Office of Civic Engagement at the University of the South, the Americorps VISTA program and Sewanee Dining. Prices for art will range from $3 to $150.

​G.C. Welcomes Extension Agent

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“They call us a secret,” joked Jennifer Banks, the new Family Consumer Science (FCS) agent at the Grundy County UT Extension Office, pointing out that many people are unaware of the services the extension office offers. “Our role is to take science, break it down into practical applications, and give people real life solutions.”
As the FCS agent, Banks has plans for classes in four areas: food, nutrition, family and finance. A registered dietician, Banks stresses a key aspect of nutrition is “helping people become better self managers by understanding the role nutrition plays in their health.”
Recent health rankings from the state point to a need for increased knowledge about diabetes in particular, Banks said. She anticipates offering a class called Fun with Diabetes, a three-part series addressing cooking styles, eating habits and healthy choices.
Researching Grundy County preliminary to accepting the position, Banks was impressed with the strong Health Council and the emphasis on helping people make healthy choices. Another health related initiative on Banks’ list is the Walk Across Grundy County challenge through March 31. Five member teams will log the miles they walk and vie for prizes in the categories most miles walked and most creative team name.
In the area of family services, Banks’ calendar will include co-parenting classes designed to help divorced parents work together to navigate the difficult challenges of childrearing. She also hopes to host a “Canning College” instructing participants on home preservation of jams, jellies and pickles.
“During my first six months here, I want to do a needs assessment to help me decide what classes to offer,” Banks said. Her long range goals include developing a class to advise home buyers. She’s considering a program offered before which helps SNAP recipients with budgeting and basic food planning—“how to look in your pantry and decide what to buy.”
Banks joins agriculture agent Keith Kimbrough who also serves as the extension office director. The agricultural arm of the extension office focuses on “horticulture and farming in general, addressing production questions,” Banks said. Workshops on how to grow fruits and vegetables were offered during the month of  March. The last seminar is on “Soil Fertility in the Garden,” Tuesday, March 27, at noon. Call the office at (931) 592-3971 for more information.
The Grundy UT Extension Office also offers 4-H Clubs in all the county schools, a program designed to foster leadership in area youth.
Banks came to Grundy County from the Sullivan County Extension Office where she held the same position. “It’s nice to have family close,” said Banks who was raised in Rutherford County. Her husband, raised in Coffee County, also has family nearby.
Since her undergraduate days at Middle Tennessee State University, Banks set her sights on a career with UT. Prior to graduation she worked for the Rutherford County UT Extension Office assisting with their SNAP recipient budgeting classes. To qualify for the exam licensing her as a registered dietician Banks served an internship with National Health Care.

​F.C. School Board Deeds Townsend School to County

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

After talking with County Mayor Richard Stewart, the Franklin County School Board voted to deed most of the Townsend School property to the county. Stewart addressed the board at the March 12 work session. The school system will retain the gym and the football field.
Stewart cited the precedent of the Franklin County Business Development Center (FCBDC), which provides office space to business startups and hosts classes in industrial maintenance and nursing taught by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). The county leases the building from the University of Tennessee Research Foundation for $50 per year. The building was slated for demolition. Grant money from the Appalachian Regional Commission enabled the county to refurbish the facility.
“The FCBDC building is full,” Stewart said, suggesting the school donate or lease the Townsend building and 1.8-acre site to the county for such FCBDC programs. Stewart also proposed the Townsend building house a “Franklin County heritage museum with a room devoted to black heritage.” Prior to integration, Townsend was the county’s only African-American high school.
The board expressed concern deeding Townsend School to Franklin County might generate complaints the board gave away tax payer property. Two possible scenarios existed: one, that the county might in turn donate the property to a private entity or, two, that the county might sell the property to a private entity.
Stewart reassured the board that by law, “Same as you, the county can’t give tax payer dollars away.” But Stewart conceded, “I can’t control the county selling it.”
“The cleanest thing would be to deed the property to the county, rather than lease it,” said Board Chair CleiJo Walker. The school system would be relieved of possible legal and liability issues. The board concurred.
To counter complaints the board gave away school property, the board will ask school attorney Chuck Cagle to include a rider on the deed transfer stipulating the school system receive a percentage of the sale proceeds in the event the county sells the property.
An empty 5.2-acre tract adjoining the school property will likely be put up for bid once a value is established.
Resuming a discussion about school safety, the board received an update on the Raptor visitor management software in use on a trial basis at some schools. The software scans visitors’ IDs and runs a background check.
All but five schools have the Raptor program, said Mark Montoye, school system safety specialist.
While the software has not red-flagged any visitors, Montoye stressed that the program gave principals and teachers comfort and served as a deterrent simply “because we have it in place.”
“The principals I’ve talked to like the program,” Montoye said, “and those that don’t have it want it.”
Asked if the program was used at after school events, Montoye said at large events it “wasn’t feasible to scan IDs in a timely manner.”
“We need to put it in all the schools or take it out altogether,” said Director of Schools Stanley Bean.
Startup costs for the program is $3,000 per school. Bean will investigate the possibility of the schools system receiving a reduced “group rate.”
The board approved a number of policy changes recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association. One policy provides for administration of an opioid antagonist in the event of a drug overdose. The other new policy provides for administering Glucagon, a hormone that helps the liver release sugar, and Diazepam, a seizure inhibiting drug. An amendment to the Graduation Requirements policy provides for a diploma for special education students who have not demonstrated sufficient mastery of skills to earn a regular diploma.
The next board meeting is April 9. The board will meet with the county commission to discuss funding for a consolidated middle school at 6 p.m., April 10, at the F.C. Annex.

​Fire Drill at FCHS Not a Protest

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

To honor the 17 students and staff members killed in the Feb. 14 massacre at Parkland High School in Florida, Women’s March Youth called for supporters around the world to walk out of their schools and places of business for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. on March 14.
Four of the Franklin County’s public schools held fire drills that day. The Franklin County High School (FCHS) fire drill occurred at 10 a.m., raising complaints the drill supported the walkout and by inference protested guns.
“We have to have a monthly fire drill,” explained FCHS Principal Roger Alsup, “and with the weather and spring break coming up for an entire week, we had to get it done.”
The FCHS assistant principal in charge of fire drills consults with Alsup about scheduling. “We try to rotate the drills throughout the day, because we don’t want to have a disruption during the same block of classes,” Alsup said. “We need to have all the administrators there and the school resource officers. There was rain in the forecast for next week, and then we had a week of spring break. We’ve gotten in a bind in the past.”
Director of Schools Stanley Bean concurred. Two of the fire drills held March 14 had been rescheduled from previous days due to conflicting circumstances. The fire drills at Broadview Elementary, Decherd Elementary and South Middle School did not coincide with the world-wide 10 a.m. planned walkout.
“Some are saying the fire drills were the result of a directive from the board or central office,” Bean said. “That is simply not true.”
Earlier in the month Bean had received a communication from the state regarding several walkout events students might seek to participate in. “The state advised talking to the student leaders and making sure they understood why they were walking out,” Bean said.
Bean communicated the advice to his school administrators and several of them contacted him asking if there was a system-wide directive. Bean decided to “let the schools handle it as they chose. I emphasized safety of the students was the number one priority. I was not aware of any plans for March 14.”
“My understanding was the the March 14 walkout was about memorializing the students killed,” Bean insisted, “not guns.”
North Middle School allowed students to walkout and observe a moment of silence if they chose.
“Earlier in the month, I communicated with students who were talking about walking out,” Alsup said. “I wanted to give them the opportunity to walk out and to let teachers know so they could plan around that. But the Friday before the scheduled walkout, I was told there wasn’t enough interest.”
“After the fire drill, we realized some students were going to stay outside. We let them stay outside and protest. No one was disciplined or got in trouble for participating.”
At Sewanee Elementary School, Principal Kim Tucker planned to have the school resource officer escort students who wanted to participate to the flagpole area. “No students asked to participate,” Tucker said. “If another such event should occur, we plan to do a ‘Walk-up’ similar to that shared by Monteagle Elementary School (MES).”
At nearby MES in Marion County students were encouraged to honor the lives of those lost by ‘walking up’ to someone who had different views and to get to know them, to sit with someone at lunch who sat alone, or perhaps to ask a student who might be disruptive in class how she or he was doing.
“We need to give forethought to how to deal with circumstances like these,” Bean stressed. “I’m very proud of all our schools. They all handled it very well.”

​Summer Music: Kilkenny at Helm of Festival

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer
As spring begins to pluck at winter’s frets, some in the Sewanee music world are already looking forward to summer.
John Kilkenny, an assistant professor at George Mason University, is one of those warm-weather melody makers. The new interim director for the 2018 Sewanee Summer Music Festival (SSMF), scheduled for June 23–July 22, said he plans to uphold a rich tradition.
“Sewanee is a special place, and I believe our community can expect the same high-level festival we have enjoyed here on the Mountain for the past 63 years,” he said. “The traditions of SSMF will continue, including our July 4 celebration, concerto competition and world class faculty artist series.”
The current festival evolved from the Cumberland Forest Festival in 1950-51, according to the SSMF website, and today boasts a multitude of orchestra and chamber music performances, as well as a plethora of educational opportunities.
“We expect to have more than 200 students from all around the world with us this summer on the Mountain,” Kilkenny said.
Among the guest conductors for the festival will be Sewanee favorites Robert Moody and Gene Moon, along with new guests Jacomo Bairos, director and conductor of the Amarillo Symphony, and Daniel Boothe, director and conductor of the Symphonicity Orchestra in Virginia Beach, Kilkenny said. Sewanee’s own César Leal will lead the Cumberland Orchestra.
The former director of SSMF, Evelyn Loehrlein, resigned in the fall to pursue other opportunities, said Terry Papillon, academic dean at the University of the South. Papillon said he expects to appoint a permanent director this year, but Kilkenny is a great fit for 2018.
“Professor Kilkenny has already brought a huge amount of energy to the festival,” Papillon said. “He is a longtime faculty member of the festival, and so brings a knowledge of the faculty and much of the operations; this will make the interim status work much more smoothly. The faculty have been enthusiastic about his appointment.”
Papillon noted that he is excited that Kilkenny has started a “Friends of the SSMF” group that will bring community members together “to increase awareness and involvement in the festival.”
Kilkenny, 41, will remain at George Mason University, where he is director of percussion and associate director of bands. This year he will also lead the Delaware All-State Band and serve as a clinician for the Music for All National Percussion Festival, he said.
“He has been a tremendous addition to the life of the festival in this new capacity,” said Hilary Ward, assistant director of the SSMF. “I so very much look forward to our upcoming season and am excited to share it with our surrounding community members and hope to see new faces at concerts on the Mountain.”
In his spare time, his interests include swimming, politics and hiking the Domain during SSMF—but he doesn’t expect to have much time for that this summer.
“Sewanee has been a huge part of my professional life—I am still a little amazed to have this opportunity,” he said.

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