​Bratton to Lead the 2018 Fourth of July Parade

Sewanee’s Fourth of July Parade Committee is proud to announce that John Gass Bratton is the Grand Marshal for 2018. Bratton’s roots in this community range far and wide from reading, writing and arithmetic at the Bairnwick School, to the Sewanee Military Academy (class of 1947), to economics major at the University (class of 1952), to alumni director for seven years, to the oldest surviving charter member of the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club, to the proud distinction of having never missed a concert of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival since it began more than 60 years ago.

Bratton was born in Texas but moved to Memphis as a young child. At age 8, his father died suddenly and the family moved to Sewanee where his two uncles promptly started building a home on South Carolina Avenue for their recently widowed sister and her children. Bratton remembers watching his uncle Henry Gass, a professor at the University and acting Vice Chancellor from 1948-49, and his uncle John Gass, a priest who would eventually become rector of the Church of the Incarnation where the Delano-Roosevelts worshipped, build the house in 1937, which has been inhabited by the Brattons ever since. After graduating from the college, Bratton moved to Charleston and worked on the docks as a stevedore, among other things, until 1969 when he returned to the Mountain to become alumni director.
In the mid-sixties his mother had started taking in student boarders in their home on South Carolina Avenue—a practice continued by Mr. Bratton and refined into ritual over the next 50 years. Bratton guesses up to 150 students have lived in the upstairs apartment and “The Cave” down below. There were often four students at a time living in the house and the Sunday dinners were legendary. Students were expected to bring a date, a friend, a cousin for a real home-cooked meal around a set table. Bratton cooked all day for this command performance and privilege; no matter what, students were loath to miss a Sunday at the Bratton table. Many have remained in close contact with him through decades, forever grateful for his friendship, generosity, and hospitality. In fact, the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Scholarship to the University for a student from Grundy County has raised more than $13,000 through the generosity of former residents of South Carolina Avenue and other university students warmly welcomed into the Bratton circle. This scholarship is now aptly named the John Gass Bratton Rotary Scholarship. This has been Bratton’s passion. These Rotary scholarships provide essential support that give young men and women the opportunity to better their lives and their communities.
When Bratton left his job in development at the University in the 1970s, he left to serve a larger community in the alcohol and drug recovery field with Bradford Health services. He did this for many years until retirement when he could devote himself fully to this town, this mountain, this village, whatever we call ourselves. Bratton was president of the Sewanee Trust for Historic Preservation, president of the Sewanee Senior Citizens’ Center, longtime parishioner at Otey Memorial Parish, volunteer for the Community Action Committee, and, as mentioned earlier, an ardent and devoted supporter of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.
If you’ve seen the statue of children in Abbo’s Alley, then you’ve seen Mr. Bratton forever young and at play. The statue was commissioned by Louis Rice for his wife on their anniversary and depicts Ellen Kirby-Smith Rice holding hands with her childhood playmates, Loulie Hunt Cocke, Louise Scott Lee and John Bratton.
Please join us on Wednesday, July 4, to celebrate John Gass Bratton, one of Sewanee’s finest!


​SUD to Pay Employee Retirement Plan Fee; Earns 97 Percent Sanitary Survey Score

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 22 meeting, the Board of Commissioners of the Sewanee Utility District (SUD) voted to allocate nearly $9,000 in fees associated with changing retirement plan providers to SUD rather than burdening employees with the fee.
The decision will impact nine employees, SUD manager Ben Beavers said. The fee assessed on each account varies depending on the amount of money in the employee’s retirement fund.
“Since the board initiated the retirement plan change, it seems like we should pay for the damage,” said Board President Charlie Smith.
The board proposed the retirement-plan-provider change to employees last November, citing the 42 percent decrease in administrative fees. Employees favored the change. The board was unaware the current provider would charge a fee to transfer the assets to the new provider.
Beavers said funds to pay the change-over fee were available since SUD currently had one less employee than budgeted for in 2018 and the budget also included unspent funds in the commissioner Planning and Governance category. The Planning and Governance funds would have paid a portion of health insurance premiums for commissioners who used SUD health insurance. No commissioners plan to use the SUD health care plan.
“For younger employees, a deduction for the change-over fee could have a significant long-term effect on growth by pulling money off the top now,” Smith stressed in support of SUD paying the fee.
Turning to the recent state Sanitary Survey, Beavers said SUD lost 15 points out of 599, for a score of 97 percent.
“The most important part of the survey is the water plant and distribution system,” Beavers said. SUD received a perfect score in that area.
All red flags were related to paperwork issues. In one inspection, SUD followed the inspection protocol for a repair rather than the new installation protocol; in documenting line flushing, a computer data transcription error showed faulty data on the report; and SUD neglected to report inspection data on three backflow prevention devices. The results have since been sent to the state.
“We’re back in full compliance,” Beavers said. “I wanted a score of 100 percent.”
Utilities with a score of 75 percent or lower receive an unapproved rating.
SUD also recently received the results of the annual audit, which showed two unexpected red flags.
To remedy the citation for failure to deposit receipts in three business days, SUD implemented a new policy of making deposits daily before 2 p.m. In the past, deposits held over the weekend and made after 2 p.m. on Monday resulted in SUD not meeting the three-day criterion.
SUD also received a citation for failing to have two signatures on all checks due to a circumstance which occurred when Beavers was at a conference. Beavers will review the two-signature requirement policy with office personnel, and board members will update signature cards on file with the bank to authorize them to sign in Beavers’ absence.
The board meets next on June 26.

School Board Approves Budget with Large Shortfall

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 24 special called meeting, the Franklin County School Board approved a $47.2 million dollar budget that will require drawing $2.6 million from the reserve fund balance to meet the revenue shortfall. On the expense side, the budget reflects a 2 percent raise for all school employees ($592,724), a $175,818 increase in health insurance costs, $100,000 for the Pre-K program due to loss of state funding, and a 1.5 percent raise for contract bus drivers ($23,341).
On the revenue side, the budget includes a request for an addition of $893,883 from the county to meet these expenses.
“If you take out the salary increases and the increase in health insurance costs, the budget only increases 1.83 percent over last year,” said school board member Lance Williams. “That is not a lot on a budget this size.”
In the discussion prior to the vote, board member Adam Tucker said he would vote for the budget, but objected to the low wage paid to teachers. Tucker computed the average hourly wage for teachers at $25 per hour. “At the Nissan plant the starting wage for line workers is $23-$25 per hour.”
County Commissioner Dave Van Buskirk said the board could increase teachers’ salaries by drawing more from the fund balance.
“No we can’t,” said Tucker. “County Deputy Finance Director Cindy Latham recommends we don’t drop the fund balance below $2.5 million.”
The projected $2.6 million draw on fund balance will cut the amount held in reserve nearly in half.
The fund balance is a reserve that is maintained in case of unexpected expenses or lack of revenue. An equally large draw next year would nearly deplete the fund balance and put the school system in violation of state law. By state law, the school board must keep 3 percent of its operating budget as a reserve.
“Those of us on the board for seven or eight years have seen this coming,” said school board member Chris Guess. “We are not in the money making business. We’re in the education business.”
At the last meeting, the school board requested adding a school psychologist and increasing certified substitute teachers pay to $80 to attract qualified substitutes. The budget expenses reflected these additions.
Addressing the board’s concern about safety in light of recent school shootings, the budget includes $14,000 for implementing the Raptor visitor background check program at all schools and $6,000 for the Interquest Detection Canines program approved earlier in the meeting. The Interquest contract will provide for searches by dogs trained to detect drugs, alcohol, weapons and ammunition at the middle schools and high schools.
The board scrutinized the budget for possible cuts.
Van Buskirk said a recent county commissioner training recommended dividing school budget expenses by the total number of students and comparing the figure from year to year with a view to increases or decreases in enrollment. “Franklin County School enrollment decreased by six percent,” Buskirk pointed out.
“The schools have become all things to all people,” Williams said. “We now have nurses and social workers. It’s a different world. These are things we may have needed but didn’t have. If we had to cut six percent, it means cutting services to the detriment of some of the kids.”
In other business, the board approved abolishing three certified and 22 non-certified positions. Most of the positions were eliminated due to “lack of students,” said Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster. In the case of Pre-K educational assistants, the state had withdrawn funding.

The board also voted not to take Tennessee Ready test scores into account when calculating students’ grades. Board Chair CleiJo Walker said by state law the test scores could count for up to 15 percent of a student’s final grade.

Community Council Appoints Election Officer; Discusses Street-side Dead Brush

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 21 meeting, the Sewanee Community Council appointed Charles Whitmer to serve as election officer for the upcoming council member election. Each of the four districts has two representatives, with one seat coming open in each district as well as two at-large seats.
Potential candidates should submit a petition signed by 10 registered voters in their district. For at-large candidates, 10 signatures from any Sewanee registered voter suffices. Contact Whitmer for details <charles.whitmer@gmail.com>.
Scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6, the election coincides with the voting times and location of the General Election held at Sewanee Elementary School.
It’s not yet known whether the current incumbents will seek reelection: Flournoy Rogers, District 1; Pam Byerly, District 2; Charles Whitmer, District 3; Richard Barrali, District 4; and at-large representatives Annie Armour and Kate Reed.
“We need more young people on the council,” Byerly said. Byerly acknowledged the complication family demands posed for young residents, but she stressed the importance of their voice in council decisions, “especially since oversight of the ball fields is under the council’s umbrella now.”
Whitmer suggested the council consider offering childcare during council meetings. “I see the council as a mechanism to improve things is what got me involved,” Whitmer said.
Council representative Cindy Potter called attention to the dead brush on Kentucky Avenue, Mikell Lane, and South Carolina Avenue. She asked if Duck River Electric could cut and remove the brush rather than spraying with herbicide and leaving the dead residue in place.
“In the past you could request Duck River to cut rather than spray,” Potter said.
Superintendant of Leases Sallie Green will check with Duck River on the options.
“It might help if community members phoned Duck River and asked them to cut rather than spray,” Byerly said.
Council representative Louise Irwin pointed out the grass hadn’t been mowed on a lot on Hwy. 41A recently purchased in conjunction with the Sewanee Village project. Frank Gladu, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor oversees the project. Green will contact Gladu about the unmown lot.
Council representative Phil White said the May 5 clean up on feeder roads entering Sewanee was a “huge success and will become an annual event.” White thanked Mary Priestley for coordinating the effort, the Sewanee Police Department for providing safety vests and cones to divert traffic, and Facilities Management for collecting the trash bags filled by volunteers. “More than 25 bags of trash were collected,” White said.
The council does not meet in the summer. The next scheduled meeting is Aug. 27.


Helen Stapleton, Renaissance Woman: Efficiency, Frugality, Future

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of interviews with some of the local candidates running for office. General election voting is Aug. 2.
In discussing her first term as Franklin County Commissioner, Helen Stapleton, candidate for District 5, Seat B said, “It’s a very efficiently run county.” The same might be said of Stapleton’s Renaissance Woman grace in navigating a complex and multifaceted life.
Within the span of just a few hours she switches hats from Director of the University Language Lab to help her husband milk down a cow who just gave birth before ferrying her teenage son to play practice.
Born and raised in Alexandria, La., Stapleton came to Sewanee as an undergraduate student in 1986. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Linguistics and ESL at Georgia State University, spent two years in Africa in the Peace Corp putting her ESL skills to use, and in 1994 returned to Sewanee to marry Archie Stapleton and raise three children.
“Being a stay at home mom was my best job,” Stapleton said.
In the Philippines for several years when her husband received a grant for a pottery workshop, Stapleton again taught ESL. Back in Sewanee, she served three years as director of the Sewanee after school program before taking the language lab position with the University. She also became actively involved with the Franklin County Democratic party and currently serves as secretary.
She lauds the county’s electronic voting mechanism for having a paper trail and no internet connection. As commissioner she sponsored legislation to keep that practice in place, and hopes in her second term to see the resolution through to a “yes” vote.
As a member of the IT Committee, Stapleton organized training to help seniors avoid cybersecurity attacks and is working to advance full transparency at county commission meetings. She’d like to see agenda background information projected on a screen. At present, only an abbreviated agenda is readily available to the public.
Stapleton also serves on the School Committee. The need to build two new middle schools tops her priorities. “If we wait until the high school debt is paid off in 2022, we might not need a tax increase, but there’s urgency to begin building now due to the leaking roofs.”
“We haven’t had a property tax increase in a number of years,” Stapleton said. “The county’s tax rate is very low. There’s no wheel tax. Maybe when the middle schools are paid off, the county can decrease the tax rate. We’ve done that before.”
Stressing the importance of the middle school project, Stapleton said, “Even if you don’t have children in school, you’ll benefit. The young people at these schools will become your police officers and nurses.”
Other initiatives dear to Stapleton include bringing broadband internet access to underserved areas and supporting the continuation of the Rural Reentry Program to help those convicted of a crime readjust to life after release from jail.
Running a no-frills campaign, Stapleton said, “I don’t believe in yard signs, and I’m going to reuse the cards I have left from my last campaign and change the voting date. I’m very frugal.”
“I’m hoping people know me,” she concedes. “I intersect with a lot of people.” Stapleton also teaches yoga and sells fruit, vegetables, and honey produced on the family’s small farm. “I try to maintain cordial relationships with everyone even if I disagree with them.”

Asked what most qualified her to serve as commissioner, she said, “I’m good at seeing an issue from both sides.”

​The Bell Route

by John Beavers, Messenger Intern

Signs marking the Bell Route of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail have gone up in Monteagle and Sewanee in recent weeks.
The Tennessee Trail of Tears Association (TNTOTA) worked for more than 20 years to get signs marking a section of the Bell Route on the Trail of Tears, as reported by the Sewanee Mountain Messenger on June 9, 2017.
According to the <tn.gov> website, feasibility of the addition of this lesser known trail to the Historic National Trail was previously directed by Congress to the National Park Service (NPS) National Scenic and Historic Trails in 2006. The Bell Route was designated part of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in 2007.
Floyd Ayers, a TNTOTA charter member, and David Moore of the Franklin County Historical Society, spearheaded the local effort for recognition of this section of the trail, along with members of the TNTOTA.
The Bell Route began in Charleston, Tenn., at Fort Cass, an internment camp for native Cherokee, on Oct. 11, 1838, and reached Evansville, Ark. (then the border to Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma) on Jan. 7, 1839. Nearly 700 Cherokee were taken along this route led by John A. Bell, a Cherokee leader and signee of the Treaty of New Echota. More than 20 died along this route.
Bell’s group, joined by a military escort led by Lt. Edward Deas, under the wider supervision of Gen. Winfield Scott, crossed from Battle Creek northwest of Jasper towards Memphis, through Winchester and Savannah. This route can be confirmed because of vouchers used to pay for supplies along the path of the Bell detachment. These vouchers, made by Lt. Edward Deas, helped the the NPS to track the Bell detachment’s route.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was written to legitimize the forceful relocation of native tribes to the Indian Territory over the Mississippi River and away from their ancestral lands.
The Treaty of New Echota was signed on Dec. 29, 1835, promising land west of the Mississippi to the Cherokee. Although this treaty was not signed by John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee National Conference at the time, it was ratified and passed by the U.S. Senate in March 1836.
Signs signifying the trail on the Mountain can be found in Monteagle and Sewanee, along the the Mountain Goat Trail. “The plan is for signs to go as far as Templeton Library on St. Mary’s Lane, where the trail then descends the Mountain,” said Moore.
“Three signs have been erected in Cowan. The Winchester signs will start on Williams Cove Road and end on the old David Crockett Highway.”
“All signs in Franklin County are being supplied by the National Park Service. However, the park service has yet to order the signs for the state roads. All the county and city signs have already been received. Timing for the erection of these signs remains the discretion of the county and the cities, as will also be the case when TDOT receives the state highway signs. The Historical Society also intends to erect ‘Interpretive’ signs, possibly as early as next calendar year.”


PHOTO: Sandy Gilliam, domain ranger, installs a Trail of Tears National Historic Trail sign along the Mountain Goat Trail.

​Director of Schools Contract Extended; Budget Dips Heavily into Fund Balance

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Contingent with the decision at the May 14 meeting to recommend the county build two new middle schools, the Franklin County School Board approved extending the two-year contract of Director of Schools Stanley Bean by an additional two years.
“Given the middle school project we have before us, continuity is really important,” said school board representative Adam Tucker.
Bean’s first year of service ends June 30. The recent board evaluation rated Bean’s performance in the good to excellent range in all categories.
In the discussion of the 2018–19 budget, Bean cited several circumstances causing the draw on the reserve fund balance to increase from $1.9 million in 2017–18 to $2.6 million for the coming year. The budget reflects a 3 percent increase in health insurance costs, a 1.5 percent increase in bus drivers’ wages, and an $100,000 shortfall in anticipated pre-K funding. Also, Bean noted, last year the school system’s property tax revenue increased by $700,000, with the projected increase for the coming year only $31,000. Funding from the state also decreased due to decreased enrollment.
The budget includes a 2 percent raise for all school system employees consistent with the raise proposed for all county employees. The board will ask the county to fund the school employees’ raise.
Reviewing the budget, the board asked Bean to increase the certified substitute teachers salary to $80 per day to attract quality substitutes. The board also asked Bean to restore the position of school system psychologist rather than expecting the Director of Special Education to fulfill both roles.
“We used to have three school psychologists,” said board member Linda Jones, justifying the request.
The board will hold a special called meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 24, to finalize the budget in order to present it to the county finance committee by Tuesday, June 5.
Franklin County High School Principal Roger Alsup addressed the board recommending changes to graduation honors policies to give due recognition to graduates who enroll in honors and advanced placement classes. The changes would also prevent circumstances such as the recent Grundy County High School dispute over the selection of valedictorian, Alsup said.
Alsup proposed honors scholars complete at least 12 honors courses; valedictorians and salutatorians must have attended FCHS for the last five semesters; the ACT test taken most recently prior to graduation be used to determine class ranking; and weighting honors courses with a maximum score of 4.5 and advanced placement courses with a maximum score of 5, instead of the traditional 4.0 high grade.
Bean will consult with Huntland High School Principal Ken Bishop about the recommended policy changes.
“We need to have the same policy at both schools,” board chair CleiJo Walker stressed.

​School Board Reverses Position on Middle Schools

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the June 18 Franklin County Commission meeting, the Franklin County School Board will ask the commission to fund the design plans for two new middle schools, with an estimated design cost of $1.8 million. This decision followed the vote at the May 14 school board meeting to rescind the request for funding for a single consolidated middle school.
The board had previously rejected the two-school solution to the problem of the county’s aging middle schools, citing concerns the high construction cost would result in sacrificing programming and curriculum needs. The search for a site for the consolidated school stalled due to high property costs and drainage problems at the two most desirable locations.
The engineering firm who advised the board in evaluating the middle schools’ dilemma suggested Director of Schools Stanley Bean contact Gary Clardy with Clardy Construction Consulting Company from Dickson, Tenn.
Clardy rejected renovating the schools, arguing the $35–$37 million price tag would get the county nothing but a roof over the existing structures. Looking at property costs and site work for a single consolidated school at the locations under consideration, Clardy concluded building two new schools would cost less.
He recommended building two identical schools on the existing school sites and retaining the gyms at both schools as well as the eighth grade wing at North Middle School, a much newer structure. Under his proposal, classes would continue in the extant structures during construction, eliminating the need for portables.
Clardy also recommended refurbishing the gym roofs and transforming the stages into locker rooms since the new buildings would have auditoriums. The new schools would accommodate 500 students each, with the eighth grade wing providing for 200 additional students at North, which has a higher enrollment.
The plans called for a covered walkway to North’s eighth grade wing, making the total cost slightly higher. Clardy estimated construction and refurbishing at North would cost $21.2–$24.3 million, and $20.5–$23.5 million at South.
He stressed the projected costs were “conceptual figures” and anticipated having more firm numbers by the next board meeting.
The estimates included Clardy’s .5 percent fee for serving as construction manager. The typical fee ranges from 2–3 percent.
“I’d like to impact Franklin County in a good way,” Clardy said. A 1970 graduate of Franklin County High School, Clardy went on to earn a degree in civil engineering. As the Assistant Superintendent for Engineering and Construction for the Rutherford County school system, Clardy has supervised the construction of 14 schools.
Clardy’s time line proposes beginning construction in November of this year and projects a completion date of January 2020, with the old schools demolished the following summer when students are not in classes.
In addition to voting to ask the county commission for design funding, the board voted to have the school system’s attorney Chuck Cagle review Clardy’s contract before retaining him as construction manager.
“What I want to see in the two buildings remains unchanged,” said school board representative Adam Tucker, stressing the importance of quality programming.
Board member Christine Hopkins concurred. “What’s fair at North needs to be fair at South.”

​Swiss Pantry Shows Love to Customers and Vendors

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

The hot asphalt off David Crockett Parkway cuts a swift trail through Belvidere, and just off that well-worn path, Swiss Pantry beckons for a pause with a cold drink and cowboy cookie.
Stapled to a highway but tucked into the heart of a Mennonite community for almost three decades, the store and bakery has called to the sweet and savory side of both travelers and locals.
Enos and Charlotte Miller moved to Belvidere from Virginia in the summer of 1987 and the dairy farmer and his wife bought a house and needed extra money to pay the mortgage. Charlotte was known for sharing baked treats with her neighbors and soon they and others started offering to pay for her sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls.
The family constructed Swiss Pantry, about half the size it is now, and the Millers had a haven for their customers.
“We could tell there was a demand and there was nothing like it in the area, and we felt this is the way God was leading us to go,” Charlotte said.
Enos’s three sisters moved down from Virginia to help and the Miller family was selling enough baked treats and bulk goods so that Swiss Pantry doubled in size after two years.
“Sourdough bread was our staple back then as were our cowboy cookies and those two are still, outside of the donuts, our bestsellers,” Charlotte said.
The youngest of the Miller children is currently learning to make sourdough bread and all eight of their kids, seven boys and one girl, ages 14 to 34, have been raised in the business.
“When we first opened we had two kids, well three, I was pregnant with the third one,” she said. “They have all learned how to cook and every last one of them has had specific jobs that they’ve had to do here.”
Charlotte has also watched her customers’ children grow up in the Swiss Pantry, like one woman whose grandmother always brought her in for a happy face cookie.
“She has grown up, gotten married and has kids of her own and now she’s bringing her kids in here for the same thing,” Charlotte said. “And that’s just really cool to me that there’s this ongoing loyalty from our customers.”
Swiss Pantry offers an array of in-house baked goods, as well as meats, cheeses and plenty of other items, such as spices, candy, snacks and sandwiches. Some of the goodies in the store come from other Mennonite/Amish communities in Langston County, Penn., or Holmes County, Ohio.
She said Mennonite communities can vary greatly, but they form a large network of people willing to help.
“They are very much supportive of each other,” Charlotte said. “Anytime there are needs both in the community and among each other, they’re very good at helping to meet those needs.”
Local area vendors also provide goods for the Pantry, a handful of which include Triple T Cattle Farms’ beef, Mama Sue’s bath products, Nature’s Wealth poultry, and fudge from SteBe Cakery.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, the store is hosting a “Vendor & Customer Appreciation Event,” which will allow area vendors to showcase their wares, Miller said. In addition, the store is offering 20 percent off on everything except baked goods.
One loyal customer, Lane Price, an oncologist who splits time between homes in Monteagle and Decatur, Ala., often stops at the Swiss Pantry on her way. Price said she likes the consistency of the store’s quality and especially enjoys their Brunswick stew and sourdough bread.
“People there are just extraordinarily nice and the food is excellent,” she said. “They make soup in the winter months that is just outstanding.”
The Swiss Pantry has a welcoming feel to it and the swirling smell of fried pies, cinnamon rolls, meats and cheeses provides a comfort.
When asked what it’s like to work there every day, Linea Powell, the store’s marketing specialist, described a team atmosphere.
“Our boss (Charlotte) is amazing and willing to lay her life down for us,” Powell said. “We really do want to help each other. I’m always amazed at just the kindness and generosity that there is, and the loyalty that they have to this store.”
Charlotte said the store is a ministry for the seven or so employees, as well as the community, and they want to be “God-honoring” in how they treat everyone.
“I don’t ever want to come across that this is something we have accomplished on our own, because we haven’t, it has definitely been God being with us every step of the way and directing us,” she noted. “…Neither my husband nor I have a business education or experience in running a business, so God has been really gracious and good. We’re never going to be millionaires sitting here but we are happy where we’re at and with the ministry that God’s given us.”
Swiss Pantry is at 10026 David Crockett Parkway. For more information call (931) 962-0567.

​Frame Gallery Hosts First Art Exhibit, Reception


by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer
For Rea Mingeva, coming to work at Frame Gallery was yet another turn of fortune in her life—and a reunion with a kindred spirit.
Mingeva, a longtime art professor at Minnesota State University, first met Harriet Runkle when Mingeva was working in the kitchen at St. Mary’s Sewanee retreat center, where Runkle’s husband John was director. The two women had a love of art in common and formed a quick bond.
“On several occasions I was like, ‘I really need this person (Mingeva) in my life; I don’t know how,’” Runkle recalled.
When Runkle purchased the assets of Corners Custom Framing and started her own business there in January, her vision was to not only offer framing services, but create a corner shop of artistic invitation and education. Soon she tabbed Mingeva, a master framer, to join the staff.
“How awesome could anybody’s life be, where you could end up in this fabulous space with this fabulous partner doing this after lifting heavy dishes at St. Mary’s at 65 (years-old)?” Mingeva asked.
Throughout her journey, Mingeva said she has had wonderful opportunities as she wades through what works and what doesn’t for her. She retired from teaching at Minnesota State to focus on her own art, when she could have been making a six-figure salary with summers off—but she said she couldn’t teach passion.
Mingeva’s portraits are on display at Frame Gallery through the end of May, and the shop will celebrate her work with a reception today (Friday), May 18, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Runkle, an art historian, former teacher and museum gallery director, selected Mingeva as the first artist to feature because she felt her friend’s art could be in some of the best galleries.
“I just admired her work and thought it had substance,” Runkle said. “I wanted to give her the opportunity to show other people this talent of hers.”
Mingeva’s exhibit features portraits of people close to her, including her late father, whom she cared for in his last days, and her brother-in-law, Rob Moore, a Sewanee grad and teacher at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, who died from AIDS.
Some of her works are appropriations, which incorporate another artist’s work behind her own portrait. For example, “Melencolia,” a 16th century piece by Albrecht Dürer, serves as background and complement to the pencil drawing of Moore.
Mingeva’s creation process is prayer and conversation, she noted.
“It’s trying to capture a silence between me and the painting that feels like a conversation between me and the real person,” she said. “All my work is very silent, it’s very quiet.
“If there’s anything that feels so honest, so reverent, it would be when I’m watching that brush on my canvas,” she added. “Every mark becomes something that I have to react to differently. I don’t set out to make a painting look any (specific) way, I set out to have this conversation.”
Another aim of the reception today is to showcase the new frame shop, which John, an architect and woodworker, helped remodel. Harriet said she wants to add more artistic opportunities there, possibly workshops and an “Art on the Spot” station, where people can create in the store. Mingeva also currently offers private art lessons at the gallery.
“It’s not a static place where you bring in your art, leave it and come back and get it, but you can look at an exhibit and hopefully get to know this as a place where creativity is alive,” Runkle said. “As a teacher, an art historian and art lover, it’s a place where I feel creative and feel like I can encourage that for people who come in the shop.”
Frame Gallery is between Village Laundry and Shenanigans. The monthly art exhibits continue in June with the photography of John Willis.

​Messenger Break Ahead

The Messenger will be on break May 21–25. We will be back in the office Tuesday, May 29 and in print on Friday, June 1, for the official start of summer on the Mountain. Deadlines for the June 1 issue are display advertising, Monday, May 28, at 5 p.m.; news/calendar, 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 29; and classified ads, noon, Wednesday, May 30.

During the summer, a number of clubs do not meet and churches often change their schedules. Please let the Messenger know by phone or email before 4 p.m.,Tuesday, May 29, if your organization’s schedule will differ from the one we publish regularly in our printed and online calendars.

​SAS Class of 2018 Graduates May 20

The student body of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School will celebrate the 2017–18 academic year and its 48 graduating seniors during weekend festivities May 18-20, 2018.

The weekend begins with the Baccalaureate Service on Friday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m. at the school’s Outdoor Altar. This year’s Baccalaureate speaker will be longtime and beloved SAS college counselor Christine Asmussen who will retire this year. The Baccalaureate Service is followed by a banquet for seniors, their families, and guests in Robinson Dining Hall. The final event of the evening is the senior Lead Out and Annie Presentations in McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts. The Annies, an SAS tradition, is an opportunity for each senior to be honored with an original poem written by a faculty member in celebration of that senior. Events will end on Friday night at approximately 9 p.m.
On Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. the school community will gather under the tent at the Outdoor Altar for Honors Day, a celebration of student achievements throughout the year and major awards recognizing outstanding leadership, service, and scholarship. Retiring and departing faculty members will also be honored during the ceremony. Honors Day lasts about an hour. Following the program guests are invited to a reception in Simmonds Hall. Student artwork will be on display in the SAS Gallery throughout the weekend.
The weekend, and school year, conclude on Sunday, May 20, with Commencement Eucharist and Commencement Exercises which begin at 10 a.m. under the tent at the Outdoor Altar. The graduation ceremony lasts about one and a half hours. Each senior will be awarded a diploma and receive a parting blessing. Following Commencement Exercises, there will be a reception in the Spencer Room in Langford Hall.

A detailed schedule is available at .

​Gardeners’ Market Opens May 26

The Gardeners’ Market, Sewanee’s Saturday gathering place for locally-grown and -produced produce, products and plants, will be open for the 2018 summer season 8–10 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, at the parking area on the corner of Hawkins Lane and U.S. Hwy. 41A in Sewanee. For more information or to be a vendor, call Linda Barry at (931) 598-9059.

​Spring Arts & Crafts Fair


The Sewanee Arts and Crafts Association’s May 2018 Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 12, at Shoup Park on University Avenue in Sewanee. This event is free and open to the public. Exhibitors will include:
Matt And Linda Barry, plants; Tracie Boswell, copper jewelry; Emily Bradford, Coyote Cove soaps; Natasha Brunton, jewelry; Susan Church, wooden boxes; Susan Cordell, pottery; Ronnie Crabtree, windchimes; Phyllis Dix, painted items; Lara and Paul Dudley, beaded jewelry; Full Circle Candles, candles;
Sandy Gilliam, photography; Burki Gladstone, clay; Mary Beth Green, boxes; Marcus Hilden, hand forged items; Connie Hornsby, fiber art; Kacie Lynn Hodges, textiles; Bryan Jackson, chipped stone; Dennis Jones, jewelry;
Jasper King, wooden bowls; Bill Knight, wooden toys; Marjorie Langston, lamp worked glass; Cheryl Lankhaar, oil paintings; Charles Letson, wooden items; Bill Mauzy, turned bowls; Randy McCurdy, pressed flowers; The Moores, driftwood; Christi Ormsby, clay items; Susan and Art Parry, glass and wood; Amy Rae, soap and yarn;
Claire Reishman, pottery; Luise Richards, totes; Bonnie Rounds, jewelry; Darlene Seagroves, sewn items; Jeanie Stephenson, bronze sculpture; Merissa Tobler, pottery; Carol and Glen Vandenbosch, mosaic art; Ron Van Dyke, metal sculpture; Rachel Williams, wood cutting; Will Winton, watercolor prints; Laurel York, block prints; SAS students, pottery.

​University Commencement Weekend Events, May 11-13

The University of the South’s 2017-18 academic year comes to a close May 11, 12, and 13 with three ceremonies marking graduation weekend on the Mountain. Commencement and Baccalaureate ceremonies will be held for students from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Letters, and the School of Theology. Honorary degrees will be presented during the School of Theology Commencement and during the Baccalaureate ceremony. Both Commencement ceremonies and the Baccalaureate service will be live-streamed for those unable to attend.

The School of Theology will graduate 29 students and confer three honorary degrees on Friday, May 11, in All Saints’ Chapel. The service will begin at 10 a.m. A luncheon for students and their families will follow in McClurg Dining Hall.
Episcopal priest, author, and historian of American religion Randall Balmer and Richard Heitzenrater, the William Kellon Quick Professor Emeritus of Church History and Wesley Studies at Duke Divinity School will receive honorary degrees. The Rt. Rev. David Mitchell Reed, bishop of the Diocese of West Texas (one of the University’s owning dioceses), will also receive an honorary degree. Balmer will preach during the service.
A book signing with Balmer and Heitzenrater will be held at 2:30 p.m., Friday, May 11, in Convocation Hall. Balmer’s books include “Evangelicalism in America” and “Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter,” and “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America.” Heitzenrater’s books include “Wesley and the People Called Methodists” and “An Exact Likeness: The Portraits of John Wesley.”
Prior to commencement, the School of Theology recognizes the various honors, prizes, and awards previously given to members of the graduating class. Included in the presentation are awards to outstanding members of the class in several areas of study. The School’s faculty votes on the recipients each year. This year, the School of Theology Prize in Biblical Studies was awarded to Jeremy Lloyd Carlson; the Prize in Theology and Ethics was awarded to Ryan Daniel Currie; the Prize in Historical Studies was awarded to Melanie Gibson Rowell; and the Urban T. Holmes Prize in Preaching was awarded to Lisa Marie Meirow.
Jamaican journalist, playwright, and director Barbara Goodison Gloudon; David Lodge, C’79, Rhodes Scholar and now the Francis J. DiSalvo Director of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future; and Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009 and a professor at Stanford University, will receive honorary degrees during the Baccalaureate service Saturday, May 12. Rice will give the Baccalaureate address. The University asks community members and friends of the University to understand that guest seating for the Baccalaureate service must go first to the family members of our graduates. Others are invited to watch the service as it is live-streamed, either online or at other locations on campus. More information about each recipient is below.
On Sunday, May 13, a Convocation for Conferring of Degrees will be held at 10 a.m. in All Saints’ Chapel and the Quad for the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Letters (tickets required). More than 400 students will graduate from the College, and 11 will receive master’s degrees from the School of Letters. A luncheon honoring the Class of 2018 graduates will follow.
Barbara Goodison Gloudon is an award-winning Jamaican journalist, author, and playwright. She has worked as a features editor, columnist, editor, and reporter at both The Gleaner and The Jamaica Star newspapers. Gloudon hosted a radio talk show, Hotline, that provided commentary on cultural and social issues. In the 1990s, she became the chair of the Little Theatre Movement. She has been honored with the Order of Jamaica; the 2006 Gleaner Honour; as a fellow of the Institute of Jamaica; and membership in the Jamaican Press Association Hall of Fame.
David M. Lodge, C’79, and a Rhodes Scholar, is an internationally recognized conservation biologist, the president of the Ecological Society of America, and the founder of the University of Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative. He is the Francis J. DiSalvo Director of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. Lodge has a history of collaborating with economists, historians, theologians, and corporations to put research innovations into practice. He has served on the NOAA Science Advisory Board and as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.
Condoleezza Rice is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of political science at Stanford University. Rice was the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post of U.S. secretary of state. On the faculty at Stanford since 1981, she also served as President George W. Bush’s national security advisor, and on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff. Since 2009, she has served as a founding partner at RiceHadleyGates, a strategic consulting firm. In 2013, Rice was appointed to the College Football Playoff Committee.

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