​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.

Sewanee Fourth of July Parade Entry Form

Get your float ready for the From Sea to Shining Sea parade!

The parade begins at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4, with line-up on Lake O’Donnell Road starting at noon and ending at 1 p.m. This is when and where the judging will be: trophies for best float, best decorated vehicle, and best horse; and blue ribbons for best decorated bicycle, best banner, and best costume.

If you’re interested in showing how your organization keeps alive the American spirit of opportunity and hope for all, please fill out an entry form. All entrants must fill out and submit an entry form before the Fourth of July. There are two ways to submit your entry form: in the From-Sea-to-Shining-Sea jar at the Blue Chair or by email leighannecouch@gmail.com. All forms must be turned in by June 30 in order to be in the parade.

​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.

​SES Read to be Ready Summer Camp

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Read to be Ready isn’t “summer school” insisted director Barbara King, who for the second year will head up the four-week summer program at Sewanee Elementary School. “We want it to feel more like a camp,” King insisted. “We want kids to discover reading is fun.”
The themes of the program—nature, farm, science and sports—find expression in the books volunteers read to the children during breakfast and lunch and in the hands-on activities children engage in. This year’s campers will make tie-dye T-shirts, birdhouses, and seed planters, and go on field trips to Falls Mill, the University Farm, and Abbo’s Alley.
Activities in the literacy component of the program include reading aloud and shared reading, writing workshops, journaling, readers’ theater, and taking weekly field trips to the Franklin County Library and May Justus Memorial Library in Monteagle. Children will also visit duPont Library at the University of the South.
All children participating in the program receive 10-15 free books to keep, King said. Geared to rising first through third graders, SES teachers recommend students for the programs based on need.
Tennessee established the Read to be Ready program in 2016. Test results showed less than half of third graders read at grade level and only one-third of economically disadvantaged third graders had achieved proficiency. These children were four times less likely to graduate from high school.
A $1 million gift from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation financed the three-year program. SES first grade teacher Barbara King learned about the Ready to be Ready grant opportunity in a newsletter from Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen.
It was King’s first grant writing experience, and she confessed it was hard work, but well worth it. The children loved the program, King said. “They were always eager to come back the next day and so excited to get the books.”
Inspired, King not only applied for a 2018 Read to be Ready grant for SES; she led a grant writing workshop for the other Franklin County elementary schools. Seven of the eight schools participated, and all seven applied for and received 2018 Read to be Ready funding.
In 2017, Decherd Elementary was the only other Franklin County school besides SES to offer the program. This year, Sewanee children’s book author Mary Priestley will present a book writing workshop at Decherd Elementary in conjunction with a PEN Foundation opportunity, and King hopes to include a field trip to Priestley’s workshop as part of the SES Read to be Ready experience.
Grant funding pays for field trip transportation, while the University of the South provides breakfast and lunch through the Summer Food Services Program of the South Cumberland Community Fund.
The 5-to-1 student teacher ratio allows for lots of special attention, King noted, with four SES teachers leading the instructional groups.
At breakfast and lunch, volunteers read aloud for 15-30 minutes. King welcomes anyone who would like to read. She also encourages community members interested in leading a hands-on activity to contact her. This year, in conjunction with the science theme, volunteer Sarah Rundle will present a program on Sewanee area rocks and minerals.
King extended thanks to the Blue Chair for ice-cream rewards for the first week of perfect attendance. King hopes to find other area businesses to donate attendance prizes for the other three weeks of the program.
Children receive a pre- and post-assessment to gauge changes in reading comprehension and vocabulary and a separate assessment to gauge changes in reading interest.
“We want children to develop a joy for and love of reading,” King stressed, that’s what the program is all about. To volunteer, contact King at barbara.king@fcstn.net.

​Monteagle Police Stop Drug Traffic; City Pursues Enforcing Screening Ordinance

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the April 30 Monteagle City Council meeting, Police Chief Virgil McNeese updated the council on a year-long narcotics investigation leading to six arrests.
“We were able to sever a major line of methamphetamine coming into the city,” McNeese said. Assisted by the Tracy City Police and Drug Task Force, law enforcement seized more than 10 ounces of methamphetamine from Georgia destined for Tracy City and Monteagle.
Turning to another legal issue, Alderman Ken Gipson inquired about the progress in a case citing Rocky Top Truck Stop and Wrecker Service for violation of the fencing ordinance requiring “junked vehicles and other such properties…be screened from view.”
Cited for violation of the ordinance, Rocky Top owner Rodney Kilgore appeared in city court in November. The judge fined Kilgore $50 a day and ordered the case be bound over to Chancery Court.
Kilgore has not paid the fine.
“The issue is what does ‘screened from view’ mean,” said Codes Enforcement officer Earl Geary. “It means ‘can’t be seen from anywhere,’ I think.” Kilgore has a fence at the back of the property, but semi-trucks waiting to be serviced are highly visible.
“If a person in violation of the ordinance doesn’t pay, what is the next step?” asked Alderman Ron Terrill.
Geary will contact city attorney Harvey Cameron to inquire about the city’s options for recourse if the fine is not paid and for clarification on the meaning of the language “screened from view.” Cameron drafted the ordinance.
In other business, the council approved Vice-Mayor Jessica Blalock’s recommendation to retain a Tampa Bay, Fla., vendor to erect the new playground equipment at Harton Park. The lowest of three bidders at $6,200, the company came highly recommended by Grundy County who used the installers when they refurbished county playgrounds.
The Council also approved purchase of a new tornado siren with a 15-mile radius from Sirens for Cities. Parts are unavailable to rebuild the 50-year-old siren currently used by the city, Mayor David Sampley said. Even within the downtown area, the siren can’t be heard.
The low bidder at $9,894, Sirens for Cities offered the additional advantages of having a representative in Tennessee and providing a unit with no limit on how long the siren would stay on during extended emergencies.
Gibson raised a question about the police department hiring policy, citing the instance of a department employee recently booted up from part-time to full-time.
McNeese said William Barton was moved from part-time to full-time when another officer quit. McNeese noted that he didn’t create a new position. In that case, he would have needed council approval for budgeting, McNeese stressed, and the opening would have been advertised in the newspaper.
During the Citizen Comments portion of the meeting, Monteagle resident Tony Gilliam said community members had voiced concern about the health of trees on Main Street that still had Christmas lights on them. Sampley replied the lights were difficult and costly to remove and couldn’t be reused after removal. Sampley proposed the city look into getting more suitable lights with larger bulbs.
Resident Mike Roark who lives on 49 North Bluff Circle asked the council to correct inaccurate street signs or to rename the section of the street where he resides to Lee Avenue to clear up confusion. “Delivery people can’t find my house,” Roark said. Sampley and McNeese will review the signage. “Replacing the signs wouldn’t be a problem,” Sampley said.
The council meets next on Tuesday, May 29, instead of the regular meeting date on the fourth Monday.

​Village Update: Housing Study and Market Analysis Highlights

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the May Sewanee Village update meeting Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor Frank Gladu provided highlight from the recently released Housing Study and Retail and Housing Market Analysis focusing on aspects of the conclusions pertinent to the Sewanee Village Plan. Gladu is tasked with overseeing the plan, a blueprint for long-term development in downtown Sewanee.
Provost Nancy Berner charged the 12-member Housing Study Group, made up of University faculty and staff, to investigate housing needs in Sewanee. The group foremost recommended “that every University employee who wishes to live on the Domain should have the ability to do so.”
To that end the group advocated increasing opportunities for homeownership by capping the number of homes owned by nonresidents; selling select rental units owned by the University; and prioritizing ownership opportunities for employees, followed by permanent residents, with nonresidents least favored.
The group also stressed the need to increase the number of available leaseholds, an initiative already underway. Rather than constructing new developments like Parson’s Green and Wiggins Creek, Gladu saw the emphasis on “infill—creating new leasehold properties within neighborhoods with vacancies.”
To improve the rental housing climate, the Housing Study Group recommended policy changes allowing tenure track employees to remain in rental housing until a year following the tenure decision and replacing the three-year limit on rental housing residence with a more lenient year-to-year rental policy. Anticipating the recommendation, Provost Berner recently announced all third-year renters could remain for a fourth year.
Another rental housing recommendation proposed all full-time employees be eligible to rent, not just select classifications. And finally, the group recommended rental housing be managed by a full-time staff member devoted exclusively to that task.
The group also had suggestions for the Sewanee Village project, proposing in housing the emphasis should not be on design, but on affordable housing for employees. Regarding retail space, the group recommended incentivizing certain types of businesses
Gladu supported the incentivizing proposal, but called it a “gray area. How do you decide who to incentivize?”
The Market Analysis undertaken to gauge housing and retail demand in the Sewanee Village in some respects paralleled the Housing Study group conclusions. Development Economist Randall Gross, who performed the analysis, compiled results from on-demand surveys and comparing markets in similar mountain region college towns.
During a five year period, Gross predicted a significant increase in demand for rental housing by 50-150 units and an increase in demand for owned homes by 120-195 units. Gross recommended the town planners lean toward small cottage type homes.
Asked if the Village project proposed a minimum square foot size for homes, Gladu said, “It will depend on the neighborhood. Everyone wants a picket fence and a yard,” he conceded. “It’s the American Dream.”
On the retail spectrum, Gross projected an increase from the current 33,000 square feet to 65,000 square feet of retail business space.
“Retail space could double,” Gladu said, “but not right now. You need people to have retail.”
Gross proposed focusing on the part-time category of visitors and tourism. In support of the idea, Gladu said, “We need to develop some draw to encourage visitors from surrounding areas.”
Gladu cited the Mountain Goat Trail and South Cumberland State Park and popular nearby attractions like Jack Daniels Distillery and The Caverns music venue.
Gross favored “an arts focus” for Sewanee.
Asked if increased tourism would benefit the University’s exposure and enrollment, Gladu pointed to competition from other “institutions like us.” “You have to sell yourself,” he observed.
Gladu invited the community to stop by the Village Planning office on July 4. Gladu and town planner Brian Wright will be on hand before and after the parade to answer questions.
The next Village update meeting is scheduled for June 5.

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