​Winter Convocation to Bring Special Events in January

The University of the South’s Winter Convocation will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, in All Saints’ Chapel. Honorary degrees will be presented and new members will be inducted into the Order of the Gown. The Rt. Rev. Robert Skirving will be installed as chancellor of the University.
Ellen Lehman, the founding president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, will give the Convocation address and will receive an honorary degree. Honorary degrees also will be conferred upon François Clemmons, a professionally trained operatic tenor and founder of the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble; the Rt. Rev. Brian Cole, bishop of the Diocese of East Tennessee; internationally acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon; and Alice Parker, a renowned composer, conductor, and teacher.
The Rt. Rev. Robert Skirving, bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, in October was elected the 25th chancellor of the University of the South. He will be installed during the Convocation.
Special events around Convocation include a screening of the film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a recent documentary about the life and guiding philosophy of Fred Rogers, the host and creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It will be followed by a conversation with François Clemmons, known for his role of Officer Clemmons, the friendly police officer on the show. The screening will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Guerry Auditorium.
On Thursday, Jan. 17, poet and professor Paul Muldoon will give a reading at 4 p.m. in Convocation Hall. To conclude the week’s events, François Clemmons will present a concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, also in Convocation Hall.

​St. Olaf Choir to Perform in Sewanee, Jan. 31

Tickets Available Now
The famous St. Olaf Choir will be starting their Winter tour on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, at All Saints’ Chapel at the University of the South. This special recital is a ticketed event and will feature the 75-voice choir under the direction of Anton Armstrong. The choir was founded in 1912 and they have been singing for capacity audiences in the U.S. and abroad for more than a century. The members of the choir are full-time undergraduate students who rehearse five times weekly. This St. Olaf Choir Tour will include recitals in Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. This is an event that you must experience. The start time for the recital is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase on the St. Olaf website at events.stolaf.edu

​Monteagle Steps Up Town Beautification

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
In keeping with appointing a codes enforcement officer to address property maintenance violations, Monteagle will erect a fence at the city maintenance facility on South Central Avenue.
“If we’re going to make everyone clean up their place, the city needs to clean up, too” said Alderman Ken Gipson at the Dec. 19 special called meeting of the city council. The fence will screen the lot from view.
“It’s an eyesore for the community,” said Alderman Tony Gilliam.
Safety consideration also played into the decision. “A lot of kids live in that area,” said Alderwoman Jessica Blalock.
“It’s a wonder someone hasn’t been hurt already,” Gilliam said.
The city will pursue getting bids for the project. An amendment to the maintenance budget, which falls under Water and Sewer, will be needed to account for the expense.
Newly appointed codes enforcement officer John Knost will begin on Jan. 2.
“Monteagle has a good set of rules. They’re not unreasonable,” Knost said. “We just need to enforce them and get folks used to complying.”
A notice on water bills informed residents of Knost’s appointment and the city’s intention to enforce property maintenance regulations.
At the January meeting, the council will address securing a vehicle for Knost. At an earlier meeting, Police Chief Virgil McNeese proposed the Police Department’s no longer in use Crown Victory would make a good car for Knost. The Crown Victory has relatively low mileage, McNeese said. The department has two additional backup vehicles.
Revisiting the November discussion about repairs needed at the Community Center, which houses the May Justus Memorial Library, Gilliam recommended retaining a single contractor for the project. Gilliam identified three areas needing to be addressed: replacing roof shingles that had blown off, repairing duct work condensation leaks and repairing condensation leak damage to the ceiling.
The budget allocated $15,000 for the project, said city recorder Debbie Taylor.
“We should be able to do it for half of that,” Gilliam said.
Plans initially called for replacing the entire roof. Inspection by Gilliam revealed condensation, not roof leaks, caused the water stains on the ceiling.
The city will seek bids for the project specifying a single contractor perform all the tasks.
The Monteagle City Council meets next Jan. 28.

​SUD Waterline Replacement Almost Complete; Candidate Slate Approved

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 18 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District (SUD) Board of Commissioners, the board reviewed SUD manager Ben Beavers’ update on the extensive waterline replacement project. The board also approved a slate of candidates for the upcoming commissioners’ election.
In midsummer, SUD undertook replacement of the aging, constricted cast iron waterlines on Florida Avenue, South and North Carolina Avenues, and Clara’s Point Road. Some of the lines had been in service since the 1920s. All the replaced lines have been inspected and sanitized except for a 140-foot segment on Clara’s Point Road still under construction.
“You can’t tell a whole lot went on except for the straw on the ground where the grass was reseeded,” said Commissioner Ronnie Hoosier commenting on how little disruption occurred as a consequence of the construction.
SUD financed the project by drawing on cash reserves rather than borrowing money.
Turning to other business, the board approved the slate of candidates for the upcoming commissioners’ election. Randall Henley will seek reelection to the open seat and Hoosier to the Marion County seat.
Others interested in serving as commissioner can still declare their candidacy. Commissioners receive a $50 per meeting stipend. Prospective candidates can self-nominate by submitting a petition signed by 10 SUD customers. For the Marion County commissioner’s seat, the signatures must be from SUD customers residing in Marion County. The deadline for submitting nominating petitions is Jan. 2.
Voting will take place from Jan. 2 through Jan. 22 during regular business hours at the SUD office.
The board also voted to continue to employ Melanie Sane to perform a monthly review of financial transactions. Beginning in April, the board retained Sane in response to the recommendation of the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts.
Sane represents the Murfreesboro-based Tennessee Utility Assistance.
By hiring someone to perform a monthly review of financial transactions, the board hopes to avoid SUD being cited for “inadequate segregation of duties,” an audit finding frequently received by small utilities that lack the staff to provide the required degree of financial oversight and lack the resources to hire additional staff.
“We’ll see if the audit shows anything different this year,” said Board President Charlie Smith.
Sane’s monthly review checks for timely payment of invoices; approval of the invoices by the management; that expenses appear to be routine; that the amount of the invoice matches the amount paid; and that the payee on the check matches the vendor name on the invoice. The board will revisit whether to continue employing Sane after receiving the 2018 audit.

​‘Under the Microscope’

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Matt Reynolds has been in archives for the last 15 years. When he got to Sewanee a couple years ago, he was struck by the University’s collection—particularly one big, shiny, copper object.
“Someone had transferred into the archives this early 20th century autoclave. It’s this big, cylindrical, copper thing, and it’s just a stunning piece. I wanted to figure out a way to get that on display at some point, and I wanted to keep a lookout for science exhibitions,” said Reynolds, the associate director of University Archives and Special Collections. “Sewanee is thought of as purely a liberal arts school, but there’s actually a really rich history of the sciences being taught here.”
A partnership between the archives and assistant professor of art and art history Alison Miller’s Introduction to Museum Studies class made the exhibition of many of Sewanee’s historical objects possible.
Between 1870 and 1987, Sewanee scholars discovered much about the domain. “Under the Microscope: An Exploration of Sewanee’s Scientific Past” displays those findings alongside the research of current students from the museum studies class.
“I think there is a significance here in how the objects reflect Sewanee’s position in teaching science. Local forestry and archaeology are really rooted in this particular spot, but at the same time, we have a global reach—the Syrian brick and some botany samples reflect that. You can think about how students throughout time have had a similar experience to what they have today,” Miller said.
For the exhibit, each student chose two historical objects to research.
“And, as a class we worked on coming up with a title for the exhibit, figuring out how to display certain items and brainstorming ideas for exhibit events such as the opening and lectures about it,” said Campbell Stuart, a student in the class.
Stuart was responsible for the research and exhibition of a first edition of Charles Darwin’s “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” and geologic folio of Sewanee from 1984 for the Geologic Atlas of the United States.
“The whole idea is that in archives, we’re supposed to find ways to tie these materials to the curriculum so they can be used for research or any other number of things. By partnering with Dr. Miller, we sort of created a learning lab for the students,” Reynolds said. “They’re coming in, doing research, propose layouts for the exhibits, suggest programming, writing the text that goes on the walls. They got a 360 degree view.”
Stuart agreed.
“So many of our objects required research going beyond just looking something up on Google. I was sending emails to people I had never met, asking people if they knew other people, and I felt a little bit like a detective,” she said. “I think sometimes Sewanee’s scientific outlets can get overlooked, and having an exhibit focused on the history of science at Sewanee hopefully offers insight into how the scientific pursuits have changed over time, how they have become embedded into the liberal arts approach to learning that Sewanee offers.”
Miller said she hopes overall, the project will offer as much to the community as it does to the archives.
“The project as a whole contributes back to the community. People can come in and learn something about the topic we’re covering, and it gives information back to the archives as well,” she said.
The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 22, 2019. Normal exhibit hours are Monday-Friday, from 1–5 p.m. Due to the University winter break, the exhibit will reopen on Jan. 3.

Woodard’s Closing Northgate Mall Location

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Jim Woodard has been in the jewelry business since he was 16-years-old. Born and raised in Winchester, he’d worked at gas stations, local farms and grocery stores before he found his calling after taking a job at Jennings Jewelers in Tullahoma. He said it was then that he fell totally in love with the jewelry business.
“By the time I was 16, I already knew what hard work was about, and when I started working in jewelry, I just really enjoyed the people and serving customers, helping them pick things that were really cool, like engagement rings or birthday presents or anniversary gifts,” he said. “It was so cool to be able to help people find something special for someone.”
In 1991, Woodard bought the store from the Jennings family and changed the name—now, the Woodard family is preparing for another change.
“We’re moving to the new location so we can offer something bigger and better for our valued customers,” he said. “I have purchased a piece of property, and I’ve also got two or three locations that we are looking at, all in Tullahoma. We want something free-standing, probably about 4,500 square-feet or larger. We’re just looking to add more categories and services.”
Over the years, Woodard has made more than 30 trips to places such as Tel Aviv and Antwerp, Belgium, the diamond capital of the world.
“My first trip was to Tel Aviv in 1979, and then about 1985 or so, I went to Belgium for the first time to select diamonds for the store,” he said. “We have brought back thousands of carats over the years. We buy diamonds today from diamond cutters in Israel, Russia, Mumbai—our diamonds can be sourced from around the world, and most all will flow through Antwerp.”
Woodard said one of his favorite parts about the business is getting to help someone choose a diamond that might become a family heirloom.
“The things that you purchase from the jewelry store have a pretty long shelf life, so when you give a diamond ring, that can be a gift for the next generation. Believe it or not, since I started in 1974, I’m now on the third generation of families coming in for engagement rings.”
Now at 60, he still credits his late mother, Mary Ruth Woodard, her hard-working nature and love of serving for all his years of success at Woodard’s Diamonds & Design.
“I learned my passion of serving from her—she was a kindergarten teacher and principal and she would always set a good example on serving others. She was a good role model for me to follow,” he said. “If the good Lord will let me have good health, I’ll work for 15 or 20 more years. I love what I do, so as long as I’ve got good health then I’ll be here.”
As part of the move, Woodard is holding a huge store closing and moving sale with up to 70 percent discounts on jewelry. Hours at the store have changed for the sale—Woodards Diamonds & Design is open until 7 p.m. each night, with Sunday, Dec. 23, being the last day of the season.

​Middle Schools Will Require Property Tax Increase

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 11 Franklin County Commission School Committee meeting, financial advisor Ashley McAnulty projected a need to increase the property tax rate by 11 cents to pay the $48 million construction cost for two new middle schools. For a $100,000 home, by law taxed at 25 percent of assessed value, the total annual tax bill would increase $27.50.
School Committee Chair Angie Fuller said the commission was previously told only a five cent increase would be needed to pay for the new middle schools.
“There wasn’t a firm estimate on the cost until the design build was completed by the architects,” McAnulty said.
McAnulty’s projections are based on additional funds becoming available in 2024 when the new high school is paid off. With the 11 cent increase, the Education Debt Service Fund will realize approximately $3 million annually in revenue, the total estimated annual payment needed to pay off the middle school’s debt over a 25 year period.
Former county commissioner Dave Van Buskirk asked if a property tax increase could be avoided by only paying interest on the debt until 2024.
“The county would need approval of the state comptroller,” McAnulty said. “It would be a difficult sell. The comptroller would likely view it as the county putting off what they needed to do.”
By law, the county is required to keep 50 percent of the annual debt payment owed in the debt service fund. “It might be possible to decrease property taxes after 2024,” McAnulty speculated. Increase in property values could make more money available for the schools.
Van Buskirk pointed out county residents currently paid less in property taxes than in 2006.
County Commissioner Gene Snead argued for building one consolidated school instead of two. “Over time, the cost of operating two campuses will far exceed the cost of operating one campus.”
Initially the school board proposed building a single consolidated school, estimated cost $55 million.
“We looked at six locations,” said Director of Schools Stanley Bean. Some locations were excessively costly and others would have required transporting students long distances. “A community poll favored two schools 70 percent to 30 percent,” Bean noted.
The current middle schools suffer from leaking roofs that have defied repair, mold infestation, and exposed wiring due to technological advances requiring additional circuitry.
“I worked at South Middle School two days and got sick as a dog,” Fuller said. “The environmentalists could close the schools. I never voted for a property tax before, but we have our backs up against the wall.”
The leaking gym roofs at the middle schools make it necessary to warn visiting schools games may need to be delayed. And without air conditioning, temperatures can exceed 90 degrees. “Schools hate coming here,” observed SMS teacher and coach Peggy Hegwood.
The new middle schools will retain the current gyms with the roofs replaced and HVAC added.
Asked why the roofs on the other pods couldn’t be replaced, construction manager Gary Clardy explained the roofs had different underlayment complicating attaching a new roof and the expansion joints between the pods dammed up water causing leaks.
“You’d spend $4.5 million to $5 million on each school and still have the conditions inside to deal with. “ Clardy added getting a warranty on the replacement roofs could be problematic.
Bean pointed out delaying construction could add 10-20 percent annually to the total price tag for the new schools. “That’s $5 million annually and that’s the low estimate.”
McAnulty said as little as one half a percent increase in interest rates could increase the total cost by $3.7 million.
The county commission will vote on the middle school funding request Jan. 21.

School Board Approves Middle School Funding Request

Supports Sherwood Community Center Changes
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 10 meeting, the Franklin County School Board passed a resolution asking the county commission “to offer and issue instruments of funding in the amount of $48 million to fund construction” of two new middle schools. The board also voiced support of an initiative to repair or replace the Crow Creek Community Center in Sherwood.
In July, the county commission authorized spending $1.8 million to design the new middle schools. Last month the school board approved the completed design.
“We need to move forward in a timely manner,” said Director of Schools Stanley Bean. Delaying construction could cause the total cost to increase 10-20 percent, annually $5–10 million, due to increased construction costs from tariff regulations and increased interest rates.
“We could get under four percent interest if we get in right now,” Bean projected.
The county finance committee will review the funding request at the Jan. 3 meeting, with a vote by the county commission expected on Jan. 21.
Fifth District Commissioner Johnny Hughes asked the board to consider a proposal by local industry to repair Crow Creek Community Center or build a new facility at the current site. “The building is in bad shape,” Hughes said.
Between $40,000-$60,000 has already been spent in attempts to address the leaking roof, said Sherwood Fire Chief Terry Pack.
Lhoist, a local employer which manufactures crushed stone, wants to repair the building or build a new facility.
“We want to get involved in the community,” said plant manager Don Spanos. Many Lhoist employees are from families who worked in the Sherwood-area crushed stone business for generations.
At issue is the deed to the property, formerly Sherwood Elementary School, which states the premises can be used for “operating a community center and that purpose only” or title to the property will revert back to the Franklin County Board of Education.
Pack proposed the 6- to 7-acre site would also be a good location for a new fire hall. Spanos said he would like to see a storm shelter erected at the site.
“Maybe the deed should be changed before they move forward to give them flexibility,” proposed school board representative Adam Tucker.
Following up on that suggestion, Lhoist attorneys will draft a revision to the deed and present it for review by the county schools’ attorney.
Spanos acknowledged some community members opposed tearing the building down. Lhoist plans to host town hall meetings if the project moves forward to solicit public opinion.
Revisiting the Naming of School Facilities discussion ongoing for the past several months, the board approved a policy formalizing the criteria and circumstances under which school facilities could be named or renamed. A request to name the Franklin County High School band room after former band and choir director Tommy Isbell brought the discussion to the fore.
“When the recommendation was made in August, we didn’t have a policy,” said Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster.
In keeping with the board’s request, Foster adapted the Tennessee School Board facilities naming policy with the added stipulation school system employees cannot be considered for facilities naming recognition until “two years from the last day of employment.”
The board also approved granting tenure to 15 teachers who had satisfied the requirements. Three of the approved teachers had been granted tenure earlier, resigned, and then were reemployed by the school system for the required two year period.
Bean announced the Franklin County Schools had scored well on the state 2018 District Accountability assessment receiving the rank of “advancing,” the second highest indicator. Bean called attention to the number of well-known “prestigious schools” receiving the “advancing” rating.

The board meets next Jan. 14

​Community Chest Update; Speaker Examines Retirement

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Members and guests at the Dec. 6 Sewanee Civic Association dinner meeting heard an update on the Community Chest’s progress toward its goal followed by an engaging presentation about retirement planning. Financial advisor Mike Forster summed up retirement quality of life predictors with three clever questions about everyday entities: light bulbs, ice cream and lunch.
The Sewanee Community Chest has raised $46,000 towards its $110,000 goal, said SCA Vice President Brandon Barry. A Giving Tuesday campaign surpassed its $1,000 match.
The benchmark is for the Community Chest to raise 80 percent of the total before the end of the year. To contribute, mail a check to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375 or donate online by visiting www.sewaneecivic.org.
A person-size thermometer at the Sewanee Post Office tracks the progress of the campaign and highlights grant recipients. Community Chest supported programs that provide food, books, child care, promote animal welfare and make possible a host of other initiatives that enhance the quality of life in Sewanee and the surrounding vicinity.
Forster’s talk on retirement planning focused on quality of life predictors determined by respondents’ answers to three simple questions developed by the MIT Age Lab.
Underlying the question “Who will change my light bulbs?” is the wish “to stay where you’re most independent,” Forster said. “Nine out of ten people want to age in place, but little things like changing light bulbs become challenging.” An adult child helping aging parents is less likely than in the past since in most young families today both husband and wife work outside the home and have children of their own to care for.
Answering the question, “How will I get an ice cream cone?” addresses transportation needs. Transportation costs are the second largest budgetary expense, at 15 percent, second only to household expenses, with health care costs third. In addition to cost, safety also enters into the equation. “We’re living longer and getting behind the wheel may present a risk to yourself or others,” Forester noted.
“Who will I have lunch with?” is a question about how a person will go about remaining socially engaged. “Having a healthy social network adds to quality of life,” Forster said. “It gets harder to make friends as we get older, particularly for men who are less adept at regenerating social networks after retirement.”
Looking to the financial side of things, Forster suggested a retired person not spend over 4-5 percent of their net worth annually, although acknowledging, “At age 95, you can spend more.” He cautioned purchasing power could be cut in half by inflation over a 20-40 year retirement period.
Long-term care in a facility for the aged averages $65,000 annually in Tennessee at the present, Forster said. “The average stay is 2.7 years.” Long-term care health insurance can help offset the expense. Forster advised purchasing a policy at age 50. “Beyond the age of 65-70 the premium cost is so high, you’re better off to be self-insured.”
Forster offered several suggestions for outfitting a home to facilitate aging in place—walk-in showers and tubs, lower drawers and cabinets, a ranch style house.
A former Sewanee resident, Forster moved here with his family as a teen and graduated from the University with a B.S. in economics. Employed by Raymond James in Nashville, Forster visits Sewanee every Wednesday. Prospective clients can arrange to meet with him when he’s in town by contacting (615) 764-4156.
Forster stressed how much to allocate to investments and risk level when planning for retirement was particular to an individual’s circumstances. “Clients expect more from financial advisors today. It’s not just about investments.”

The SCA meets next Feb. 7. Dues, $10 annually, can be paid at or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 222, Sewanee, TN 37375. Membership includes a year’s subscription to Sewanee Classifieds, an email based service.

​Object Idea Exchange at UAG

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
A bright orange mechanical pencil to represent the responsibility of students at the University; a plastic spoon to represent the community built around a shared table; a blue and white floral tea cup that was always filled with coffee for anyone who came to visit —these are just a few of the items collected by the Isle of Printing Automat at Communication Station: Object Idea Exchange.
Hosted in the University Art Gallery (UAG), the Object Idea Exchange is the third in a series of projects called Communication Stations, designed by Nashville-based artist and Isle of Printing owner Bryce McCloud. The goal of the stations is to start conversations and both receive and broadcast ideas.
To bring this goal to life, McCloud built an Automat, almost like a vending machine, that accepts an object from the participant, analyzes the meaning of the gift and then sends out a gift that another participant brought. Along with the gift, the participant writes an explanation of why the object is important to them or to Sewanee.
“The idea behind the Object Idea Exchange is that every object tells a story,” said Shelley MacLaren, director of the University Art Gallery. “Everyone is invited to bring an object that represents something about Sewanee, the community or something they want to share with the community. You put something in, and after a few seconds, the Automat gives you something in return that someone else has donated. It becomes a conversation mediated by the machine between the people about someone else’s idea about Sewanee.”
Accompanying the blue and white tea floral tea cup was a story of a participant’s grandmother Iola, who was known for always having a pot of coffee on for anyone who might stop by.
“She always used the tea cups for coffee, and she’d have a pot on all day,” the anonymous participant said. “She was always just a person who took care of people. She drove for Meals on Wheels her whole life, and she made crazy crafts for the church bazaar. She loved card games and cheating at them, and she had a wicked sense of fun and a real sense of how to take care of people. Community is really about those things. It’s about that pot of coffee and offering it to anyone and everyone.”
McCloud, who is of the belief that art can make a difference in civic life, said the point of the project is to create spaces for conversation.
“When I first started it with the Our Town project, I wanted to try out different avenues of communicating. We had people in Nashville get to know each other through portraiture. I was teaching a class at Penland right before the election in 2016 when I saw that people were having a really difficult time bridging this sort of ideological divide,” he said. “I kept thinking about how in the world we live in, we’re all the same as we have been forever, but there’s this feeling of otherness. I think art has the power to bridge that, and I’ve been trying different methods of cracking the code.”
And in any community, stepping outside of comfort can be valuable.
“I think in any community, we fall into patterns of who we’re comfortable talking to and who we gravitate toward. Projects like this one are a way to surprise us out of those patterns and to build new ones—it’s a way of reaching out to people we might not talk to otherwise for whatever reason that might be,” said MacLaren.

The installation will be in the University Art Gallery until Dec. 16. Objects can also be viewed at www.instagram.com/object_x_idea

Rethinking Lending

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Compared to traditional lending institutions, MoFi has radically different criterion for accessing who gets money and why they get it. President and CEO David Glaser addressed the community at a Nov. 28 lecture sponsored by the Babson Center for Global Commerce.
The mission of the Montana based financial institutions serving the northern Rockies “is to deliver capital to poor communities,” explained Glaser. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) like MoFi have a “double bottom line, to create both social and financial return.”
“MoFi is a nonprofit, but we’re profitable,” Glaser stressed. “We don’t pay out profits to shareholders. We put the profits back into the organization.”
“In the past 40 years there’s been an accumulation of wealth in the top 5 percent of the U.S. population. Forty percent of Americans don’t have $1,000 in savings. They live on the edge worried every day what’s going to happen.”
Embracing the challenge of how to use capital to help those people, Glaser left his career as a business-minded environmental scientist and joined MoFi in 2010.
MoFi got its start making loans to startups and small businesses that had hit a rough spot. Banks frequently send MoFi clients who don’t qualify for bank loans. MoFi charges slightly higher interest than banks with the goal of “getting people to bankable as quickly as possible.”
Success in small business ventures inspired MoFi to look for other ways to help.
One was to assist initiatives qualifying for New Market Tax Credits that incentivize development in low income areas. A MoFi bolstered business created 220 jobs in a town of 1,000.
Consumer Small Dollar loans help people who would otherwise be victims of predatory lenders charging fees equivalent to 50-500 percent interest. A woman came to MoFi who was about to put her car up for collateral to repair her trailer so she wouldn’t get kicked out of the trailer park. MoFi made her a 2.5 percent loan she was able repay. If she’d borrowed from the predatory lender, she would have lost not only her car, but without transportation, lost her job and home.
MoFi focuses on clients’ willingness and ability to repay a loan, sometimes putting them on no interest to begin with.
Return on Capital loans assist trailer park residents in purchasing the land beneath their homes. People immediately begin improving the area with playgrounds and other amenities once they own the land, Glaser pointed out.
Another popular MoFi initiative is Home Now down payment assistance where clients receive the down payment for their home purchase as a gift or 30-year no interest loan.
“This is the product we’re most proud of because of the impact on everyday people like teachers, firefighters, and hospital workers,” Glaser said.
MoFi makes a small profit on the transaction by buying the mortgage from the bank then selling it to U.S. Bank which repays MoFi for their investment plus a small premium. U.S. Bank benefits by earning a boost to their Credit Regulatory Agency score.
A single bank incentivizing people to buy homes could lead to trouble like the 2008 housing bubble, Glaser stressed, explaining why U.S. Bank didn’t offer no interest loans on its own.
MoFi uses a logarithm with 99 percent accuracy to assess the likelihood clients will repay loans. But Glaser attributes MoFi’s remarkable .12 percent loss rate to two less quantifiable factors. One, MoFi’s classification as a CDFI gives the institution “flexibility,” freedom from banking regulations that enable MoFi to employee strategies like temporary no-interest loans where rates increase when people can pay more.

The other factor is even more subjective. Glaser predicts without it, MoFi’s loss would increase to 6-12 percent. “Each loan comes with love,” said Glaser.

​Prize Earning Cures for Holiday Over Indulgence

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Need a nudge to counteract holiday overeating and couch-potato behavior? Three area programs offer rewards and prizes for engaging in health promoting activities, and they’re all free: Passport for Health, Healthy Parks Healthy Person, and Park Run.
Participate in a walk-run event, a nutrition event, a reverse diabetes course, a substance abuse support group or any other Grundy County Health Council qualifying activity, and for each event receive a stamp on your Passport to Health. Fill a page with six stamps and earn a prize. Fill all five pages in your passport and earn even better prizes.
The kickoff event in July at the Tracy City Save-a-Lot featured Grundy County UT Extension Agent Jennifer Banks who prepared a corn, cucumber, and tomato salad from locally grown garden goodies. Qualifying events include attending any Extension Office or Health Council program. See the Health Council calendar for a full list of upcoming activities http://www.grundycountyhealthcouncil.org/calendar/.
Passport booklets are available at all sanctioned events or by contacting VISTA volunteer Caroline Todd gchc.vista2@gmail.com.
“We have some great prizes,” said Todd who designed the program in conjunction with Grundy County’s designation as a Healthier Tennessee Community. Prizes range from hats and T-shirts to fitness equipment like wick-away towels and stop watches.
Or maybe you’d like to earn a night camping or a $20 gift shop coupon at a Tennessee state park. Download the Healthy Parks Healthy Person App app.healthyparkstn.com and start racking up points toward your goal. Go hiking, walking, running, biking, paddling, or rock climbing at any local, state, or national park and log up to 10 points a day.
Healthy Parks Healthy Person was launched in the summer of 2017 as a partnership between Tennessee State Parks and the Tennessee Department of Health. “The program offers an incentive for residents to engage in healthy activities,” said Brock Hill, Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation.
Other rewards include free golf, swimming, hiking with a ranger, or dining at a state park. Park restaurants now emphasize “healthy, sustainable, and nutritious menu items,” said Deputy Communications Director Kim Schofinski. Some compost and grow their own produce on site.
“People are untrusting that Park Run is free,” said Kristin Sturgill, founder of the timed 5K walk-run event on the Mountain Goat Trail. The emphasis is on community. Park Run leaves from the Pearl’s parking lot every Saturday at 9 a.m.
Participants receive an identifying barcode and their participation is logged on the website parkrun.us/MountainGoatTrail along with their time for that week.
Those who wish to can track their improvement. “But it’s not a race,” Sturgill stressed. “We don’t reward for the best time. We reward for coming.”
“No one finishes last. A volunteer trail walker brings up the rear,” Sturgill explained. “It’s a family friendly event. We get a lot of walkers and kids in strollers.” Dogs on leashes are also welcome.
May 19 marked the first local Park Run, and since then the internationally sanctioned event has attracted participants from all over the world including South Africa, Australia, Ireland, and the UK. A participant’s identifying barcode is recognized at Park Run events worldwide and used to record their participation and time.
Logging 50 runs earns participants a T-shirt. And, Park Run is a qualifying Passport for Health event, so participants get a passport stamp for each run, too.
“Studies have proven the benefits of outdoor exercise,” Schofinski said. “People report significantly higher feelings of enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem when exercising outdoors in a natural setting.”
Maybe that should be reward enough for getting outside and doing something. But, if not, go for the prizes. A little nudge always helps.

​Annual Holiday Studio Tour

Tennessee Craft–South invites the public to the 23rd annual Holiday Studio Tour on the Mountain, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8 and 11 a.m.–4 p.m, Sunday, Dec. 9. Tennessee Craft–South is the regional branch of Tennessee Craft, the state-wide organization which supports and promotes all handmade crafts in Tennessee.

More than 25 local and regional artists will show their work during the weekend, ranging from textiles, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and glass to paintings, cast bronze, metal work and woodwork. A new Sewanee studio, Local Artists at Clara’s Point, joins other Sewanee artists’ studios open to the public for the Tour, including those of Bob Askew, Pippa Browne, Ben Potter, Claire Reishman and Merissa Tobler. Other Sewanee locations displaying work are the American Legion Hall and Locals Gallery. A new Monteagle site–The Gallery in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly–joins the Monteagle studios of local artists Christi Teasley, and Glyn and Will Melnyk. Light refreshments will be available at most locations.
Additionally, there is a group exhibition of all artists’ work in the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Art Gallery, located in the center of the Simmonds Building at SAS. Most sites host different individual artists showing their work, while the SAS Art Gallery presents an exhibition from all members of the group, in addition to SAS faculty and students and other members of Tennessee Craft–South. Most works featured in the Studio Tour Exhibition are for sale at the Gallery. (See page 7.)
There are six sponsors for the Holiday Studio Tour this year: Big A Marketing, Mooney’s, Shenanigans, Locals, the Sewanee Inn and the Blue Chair. Studio Tour brochures are available at each of these local businesses and at all participating studios.

Bright yellow signs mark the tour route, and maps are available at all locations on the tour as well as at all sponsors’ locations, in the Sewanee Messenger (see page 5), and on the Tennessee Craft website https://tennesseecraft.org/members/chapters/south

​University Alumni to Make Documentary About Historic 1899 Football Team

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Almost 120 years ago, the Sewanee Tigers boarded a train and embarked on what became the ultimate 2,500-mile road trip—the footballers were heading out to play five games in six days. At the end of the trip, the Tigers would return to the Mountain victorious, having outscored opponents Texas, Texas A & M, LSU, Tulane and Ole Miss 322–10.
Years later, the full story has yet to be told, but alumni Norman Jetmundsen, David Crews and Kate Gillespie are working to remedy that. “Unrivaled: The 1899 Sewanee Football Season” is a documentary that will tell the complete story of the team.
Jetmundsen, class of 1976, said he first learned about the story when he was a student. The story of the legendary team was something everyone on campus knew.
“A couple years ago, ESPN had this bracket for March Madness and they picked what they thought were the best teams ever, and they had people vote on who would win. The final championship game came down to the Sewanee team of 1899 and the Alabama team from 1961. Of course, Sewanee won. There’s been some stuff like that over the years, but nobody had ever just told the whole story in documentary form,” he said.
After beginning the work on the film, Jetmundsen said he discovered that they were doing something bigger than just telling the story—they were preserving an important piece of Sewanee history.
“When we first started, we just wanted to get the story out there. Later, we realized we’d be preserving a piece of history that would otherwise be lost forever. Luke Lea, the student manager and the organizer of the whole trip, was a student from Nashville. He recruited the coach and got the uniforms and did all the scheduling. We knew he had some relatives in Nashville, and one of them said, ‘Well, you should talk to my aunt.’ So we were able to talk with Laura Knox, who is 91-years-old. We’re at the stage now that the story would almost die out—the player’s grandchildren and great grandchildren won’t always be here,” he said. “And of course you realize in talking to people that you never knew the whole story, just the highlights. The human sides of the story are worth preserving.”
Woody Register, professor of American History at the University, said the story is worth telling for a number of reasons, but like Jetmundsen, he thinks it’s most important to preserve the Sewanee history—and uncover elements to the story that were previously unknown.
Cal Burrows was the African-American trainer on the team, and little is known about his time at the University, about what he did later in life or even about the way he looked. The team hasn’t found any photos of him. Jetmundsen said what they do know about him is that he was an invaluable member of the team.
“We know that Burrows went on the road trip and that the players would wake up in the middle of the night screaming in pain. Football has always been violent, but back then, it was even more so because there was no equipment. He would have to get up and rub them down because of the pain. He’s the unsung hero in all this—even though he never played, he was invaluable to the team. He never got the recognition back then because of the culture, but we’re going to make sure he gets it now,” Jetmundsen said.
Register said the omittance of Burrows’ story was by design.
“To omit the presence and importance of the so called servant class, especially the African-American people on the Mountain who provided such indispensable services, that was by design. They’re not meant to be included in or really acknowledged in the story, but, of course, they leak into the story at points,” Register said. “Burrows is one of a number of guides whose name has been lost and forgotten, though he did the hard labor of washing the uniforms, administering to injured players and was likely even the originator of the mythology surrounding the portage of water on that trip west.”
Register referred to the story of the magical Tremlett Springs, which trickles out of a cave on the domain in Abbo’s Alley. The story goes that the team took two barrels of spring water to ensure their health, and as the team continued to win, the victories mounted, the water became known as “magical.”
“That is one of the stories that indicates the magic of the Mountain and the mountain tiger, but who carried that water? Water is heavy. All we hear about is the young, white players drinking the water, but we don’t hear about those who drew it, who carried, who tended to it,” Register said. “It’s only in some recollections that came much later that the role of the black managers is manifest.”
Jetmundsen said it is stories like that of Burrows that the team hopes to delve into and tell with the film.
“The main thing now is there are treasures out there—diaries, photos, letters—we could use that would tell us about what the players and those involved thought. I’m just hoping there are some others out there that no one has ever found before,” he said.

To support the creation of the film or to tell your piece of the story, visit www.sewanee1899.org


​Housing in Sewanee: What Fits?

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Dec. 5 Sewanee Village update meeting, Special Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor Frank Gladu invited residents’ input about what types of housing and what home sizes would best suit the area designated as the Sewanee Village. Gladu oversees implementation of the Village Plan which encompasses 45 acres in the downtown Sewanee vicinity with a view to ensuring development is intentional rather than haphazard.
Citing housing as one of five priority projects, Gladu said, “The right kind of housing doesn’t exist now or is beyond the reach of what most residents can afford to pay. The $100 per square foot home doesn’t exist anymore.”
A recent call for qualifications resulted in approval of seven developers and builders being invited to submit housing proposals by mid-January. One of the approved developers specializes in tiny, 390-square-foot pre-manufactured homes of a style determined to be in keeping with Village Pattern Book specifications.
Sewanee resident Sarah Stapleton pointed out townhouses with shared walls made more efficient use of the land than clusters of small homes.
“How many people really want a 400-square-foot home?” asked resident Nancy Burnett. She speculated there might be more demand for 600-1,200 square foot homes.
Gladu said the Village market analysis forecast the greatest demand would be for small bungalows, 1,200-1,500 square feet in size, rather than townhouses and duplexes. The analysis didn’t address tiny homes.
Gladu noted the tiny home developer recently sold 20 of 53 lots in a tiny home community outside Monteagle.
Stapleton suggested small, clustered homes would be attractive to young University staff as rentals, but not to buy—“They don’t stick around.” A view of the woods would greatly enhance the appeal, she stressed.
Gladu said a lot in Parson’s Green was earmarked for multi-family housing of the townhouse variety. Another site will allow both multi-family homes and rental apartments. Other sites are reserved for single family homes.
Asked if new Village housing would be available exclusively to University employees, Gladu cited the University’s recent release of 10 home sites. Employees have the first option to lease and build. After six months, unclaimed lots will be offered to full-time residents.
The criteria set for the newly released lots “put a stake in the full-time resident requirement,” Gladu said. But he noted developers were asked to submit bid estimates for both full-time resident and second home owner projections.
Burnett advised at least a portion of the homes in any given site be sold to full-time residents. A second home owners’ neighborhood “could end up as a ghost town” at certain times of year.
Sewanee resident Bill Harper referenced George Rainsford Fairbanks’ “History of the University of the South,” which envisioned a core of residences for faculty and staff and second home owners’ residences in outlying areas. “Many people who start out as second home owners are trying out their retirement location.”
In an update on other priority projects, Gladu said the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) had completed right of way plans for narrowing Highway 41A to calm traffic. Gladu anticipates TDOT will host a public hearing before moving forward.
Burnett asked about plans to relocate the Community Center.
“There are no immediate plans to relocate the Community Center and Senior Center. Both generate a lot of activity in the downtown area,” Gladu said. “Relocation will take effort and resources. The Community Center and Senior Center are fine where they are for now.”
The next Village update meeting is Jan. 2.

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