NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSA) ask Tennesseans to take part in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Take Back Day for prescription drugs on Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The initiative addresses public safety and public health issues. It is an opportunity to rid homes of expired, unused, unwanted, and potentially dangerous prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Sites cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps – only pills or patches.

“This is an important program for both health and environmental reasons,” David Salyers, TDEC commissioner, said. “It’s a convenient way to rid a household of prescription drugs that are no longer needed, and it keeps those drugs out of our water supply. We are happy to partner with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on this effort. The partnership helps make this program succeed.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted so many patterns of normal daily life, and that includes regular disposal of potentially harmful prescription medication,” Marie Williams, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said. “On this National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, we’re encouraging people to get back in the habit of safely and securely disposing the medications they no longer need.”

“We know most people who get addicted to opioids start with a prescription,” Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, said. “That is why it is important to properly dispose of your unused prescription drugs, to prevent the unintended consequences of misuse, which can lead to addiction and use of other drugs such as fentanyl which are having an outsized impact on drug overdose deaths in our state.”

Dropoff locations, available year-round, can be found online in a map of 355 authorized collection sites throughout Tennessee. Take Back Day events can be found at TNtogether.com. Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions and other community groups team up with their local law enforcement to host the events. According to national research, about two-thirds of people who misuse or abuse prescription medications obtain them from family or friends.

To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. Pandemic precautions may have limited access to permanent drop boxes, which are normally available on-demand.

This year’s Take Back Day is important because the April 2020 Take Back Day was canceled due to the pandemic, and the amount of medication collected in Tennessee during the October 2020 Take Back Day was about one-third the amount collected in October 2019.

The event this month is the DEA’s 20th nationwide Take Back Day since its inception over 10 years ago. Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 493 tons (985,392 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 4,500 sites operated by the DEA and over 4,100 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Those partnerships have now collected nearly 6,850 tons of prescription medications since the inception of the initiative in 2010.

Two Sewanee Seniors Awarded Watson Fellowships

Bramwell Atkins and Mandy Moe Pwint Tu, both C’21, have been awarded prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for 2021-22. They bring the total of Sewanee’s Watson Fellows to 51.

Atkins and Tu join 40 other students, hailing from eight countries and 22 states, who were chosen this year as Watson Fellows. Selected from colleges and universities across the United States, winners of the fellowship receive a stipend supporting 12 months of independent study and travel outside of the U.S. (The Thomas J. Watson Foundation is working with this year’s fellows to defer travel if needed due to the coronavirus pandemic.)

Bramwell Atkins is a classical languages and English major from Colorado Springs, Colorado. His project, “How Can We Sing?: The Music of Displaced People,” will explore the power of music. He plans to travel to Canada, Russia, Laos, Vietnam, Greece, and Germany in order to immerse himself in those cultures and their unique forms of musical expression—and most important, to connect with residents by playing music with them.

At Sewanee, Atkins has run cross-country and track and field, served as the community service coordinator for PRE Orientation, and has played for several musical events and put on a musical of his own.

Mandy Tu is an English major from Yangon, Myanmar. Just as Atkins has played the piano as far back as he can remember, Tu has wanted to be a writer since childhood. Her project, “Voices in Verse: Poetry in the Postcolonial State,” will take her to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the U.K., where she will explore the role of poetry and creative writing in the lives of women poets in countries previously colonized by Great Britain.

Tu is president of the Order of the Gown, and served for two years as president of the student Organization for Cross-Cultural Understanding.

Since 1985, when Sewanee was selected as one of the Watson institutions, the University has produced 51 fellowship recipients, including most recently Wilder McCoy, C’20. The Watson Foundation selects fellows based on qualities of leadership, imagination, independence, integrity, resourcefulness, and responsibility.

Bogert-Winkler Appointed Assistant Professor of Liturgy

On March 30, the Very Rev. James F. Turrell, dean of the School of Theology, announced that the Rev. Dr. Hilary Bogert-Winkler has been appointed assistant professor of liturgy. She will begin teaching in the academic year 2021–22.

“Dr. Bogert-Winkler is both a scholar and practitioner of the liturgy, and she brings considerable gifts to the work of preparing students to lead the people of God in worship. I am delighted that she will be part of the faculty at the School of Theology,” Turrell said.

Bogert-Winkler was most recently director of pastoral studies at Montreal Diocesan Theological College and an affiliate member of the faculty at the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. Bogert-Winkler holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Connecticut, as well as degrees from Yale Divinity School, Harvard Divinity School, and Western Kentucky University. Originally from Kentucky and ordained a priest in 2010, she served for a decade in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, working first in parish settings and more recently as youth missioner while also completing her doctorate.

“It is fantastic that Dr. Hilary Bogert-Winkler will be joining the faculty in the area of liturgy, a subject in which the School of Theology has always been so strong,” said the Rev. Dr. Benjamin King, associate dean for academic affairs. “Her excellent credentials give me confidence that her name fits alongside those of Massey Shepherd, Marion Hatchett, Neil Alexander, and James Turrell. She is also a true pastor who will serve our students well inside and outside the classroom.”

In addition to her dissertation titled “Prayerful Protest and Clandestine Conformity: Alternative Liturgies and the Book of Common Prayer in Interregnum England,” she is the author of several publications including a recently commissioned piece for the bishop of the Diocese of Quebec titled “Individual Communion Cups, Community, and Covid-19.”

Bogert-Winkler has received multiple awards and fellowships beginning with the Thomas Phillips Memorial Award from Yale Divinity School in 2009, and most recently, the Karl Z. Trybus Award from the University of Connecticut.

“I am thrilled to be joining the faculty of the School of Theology,” said Bogert-Winkler. “Sewanee holds an important place in theological education and liturgical studies for The Episcopal Church, and I am excited to give back to the Church that raised me through teaching its future leaders. I look forward to working with students to explore the richness and breadth of our liturgical tradition, and to think about the ways we can draw upon those riches as we move into the future.”

“In addition,” she continued, “in my conversations with the faculty and students of the School of Theology, I have been consistently struck by their desire to be honest about Sewanee’s history and to work for a more just and inclusive institution. This is vital and sacred work, and I am committed to joining with them in it. And, as a native Kentuckian, I feel that this return to my southern roots is very much like coming home.”

SAS Senior Receives Prestigious Scholarship at Washington & Lee

St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School (SAS) senior Porter Neubauer will join the first-year class at Washington & Lee University (W&L) in the fall with tuition, room, and board covered, as well as up to $7,000 in additional support for special projects each summer.

Porter is one of a select number of incoming students to receive W&L’s Johnson Scholarship. Awarded to approximately 10 percent of each W&L entering class, students are chosen based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, and the potential to contribute to the intellectual and civic life of the W&L campus and the world.

Porter has excelled in all of these areas at SAS. He is a High Honors student, a proctor, a school ambassador, and a member of the Cum Laude Society. He served as a student representative to the school’s Curriculum Committee, is a member of the varsity boys’ soccer team, and is an Eagle Scout. He was formerly a member of the school’s varsity swim team and qualified for state competition as part of the school’s record-holding relay team for the 200 free. Porter took advantage of the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee option to take courses for free and for credit at the University of the South enrolling in Creative Writing Poetry and Principles of Chemistry.

“I’m tremendously grateful to be named a Johnson Scholar at Washington and Lee,” said Porter upon acceptance of the scholarship. “As I reaffirm my leadership and integrity for the next four years of my education, I cannot forget how my experience at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School has prepared me to think critically, act with dignity, and engage in community with my peers. W&L, I know, will pick up in September right where I leave off in May, both as a wealth of academic challenge and a coterie of like-minded learners.”

Porter is the son of Alex and Amy Neubauer of Belvidere, Tenn., who offered the following when they heard the news, “Washington and Lee University is an excellent liberal arts college, and we are incredibly grateful to the Johnson Program for making a W&L education possible for Porter. We also thank St. Andrews-Sewanee for its important role in Porter’s success. The school’s remarkable curriculum, devoted faculty, and diverse opportunities have uniquely prepared him to meet this moment, and we are confident that Porter will carry his time at SAS with him these next four years and beyond.”

Fults Receives Prized Fellowship in International Relations

Alexa Fults, a University of the South senior politics major from Morrison, Tennessee, has been awarded one of the most prestigious fellowships in international relations, a James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was nominated by the university for placement in the Fellowship’s Russia and Eurasia Program, and was selected for that program.

Each year, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offers approximately 12 one-year Gaither Fellowships to uniquely qualified graduating seniors selected from a pool of students nominated by several hundred participating universities and colleges. Gaither Fellows work as research assistants to Carnegie’s senior scholars. They have the opportunity to conduct research for books, co-author journal articles and policy papers, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony, and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists, and government officials.

Fults will spend next year at Carnegie’s U.S. center in Washington, D.C., working with scholars there as well as in Moscow. She says Sewanee has prepared her well for the position: “The international relations training I received at Sewanee was cutting-edge and the mentorship I received from my professors in the politics and Russian departments and from Ambassador Brigety is unparalleled. I really cannot thank them enough.”

The fellowships are paid, full-time positions that begin on August 1 and last for approximately one year.

Fults has found her research at Sewanee into Russia’s view of the war on terror to be exciting. “When people ask what I study in college, and I say ‘politics,’ they think about campaigns and elections, but what I really study is international law, armed conflict, and terrorism,” she says.

Fults grew up in Grundy County, and credits part of her success to her community. “No one expects a girl from rural Appalachia to have the opportunity to shape the future of U.S.-Russian relations, but here I am,” said Fults. “I owe so much of my success to Sewanee, but I also owe part of my success to the surrounding community, which taught me the power of grit and resilience.”

STRHS and the University of the South Continue Partnership

Southern Tennessee Regional Health System-Sewanee (STRHS-Sewanee) is pleased to announce its continued partnership with the University of the South.

A long-term lease renewal agreement has been executed with the University, allowing Southern Tennessee Regional Health System (STRHS) to continue to operate the hospital located on the campus. This ongoing partnership with the University of the South demonstrates STRHS’s commitment to providing high quality patient care, close to home in the communities it serves.

“This is truly an exciting time for STRHS-Sewanee, the community and the entire region we serve. STRHS-Sewanee has played a vital role in serving the health and wellness needs of Franklin, Grundy, and Marion counties for more than 30 years. We look forward to continuing to invest in this region and to enhance services to meet the needs of our growing community for many generations to come,” said Cliff Wilson, STRHS-Winchester/Sewanee Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud of our partnership with the University of the South and for the continued support from our board of directors and physicians, many of whom reside on the Cumberland Plateau.”

Located on the beautiful campus of the University of the South, STRHS is proud to be a member of the tightknit community of Sewanee. The campus location offers 24/7 emergency care, diagnostic imaging, skilled nursing, observation care, outpatient therapy services, and outpatient lab services. The nursing and support staff strive to provide individualized care directed to the specific needs of each patient.

“For years, STRHS has provided important health care services to members of the Sewanee community and beyond, including to University students, faculty, and staff; other Plateau residents; and visitors to the area,” said University Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety. “Our partnership has never been more important than during these especially challenging times, and we are pleased that this continuing relationship will ensure access to these valued and essential services.”

Part of LifePoint Health, Southern Tennessee Regional Health System (STRHS) is a regional network of hospitals and health care services serving the healthcare needs of communities in the southern Tennessee region with facilities in Winchester, Sewanee, Pulaski, and Lawrenceburg. The Winchester and Sewanee campus locations provides inpatient and outpatient healthcare services to Franklin County and the surrounding area at its combined 198-bed acute and skilled care facilities and physician practices. STRHS provides quality care in numerous areas, including emergency care, cardiac care, same-day surgery, orthopedics, diagnostics, women’s health and rehabilitation services. For more information, visit <www.SouthernTennessee.com>.

Franklin County Schools: Wage Increases

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Human Resources Supervisor Linda Foster recommended wage increases for two categories of employees at the April 12 Franklin County School Board meeting. Foster suggested a stipend for certified instructors with the National Board Certification credential and a wage increase for two classifications of special education assistants.

Foster called National Board Certification (NBC) “the gold standard.” “We have our very first applicant for a teaching position who has her National Board Certification,” Foster said.

Acquiring the certification “is a long, involved process,” said Board Member Sarah Marhevsky, who earned the certification when she taught in Idaho. “You have to reflect on your teaching, you have to record yourself teaching, you have to analyze your teaching,” Marhevsky explained. She said the program enhanced “teaching practices” and suggested encouraging Franklin County teachers to pursue the credential.

Board Vice Chair Lance Williams speculated giving a bonus might inspire teachers to acquire the certification.

Foster said some Tennessee school systems paid a stipend to NBC teachers. Tennessee did not require a wage increase for NBC teachers, but some states did. The board voted to give teachers with the NBC credential an annual $5,000 stipend, matching the amount awarded to NBC teachers in Alabama.

Revisiting the discussion about a wage increase for special education assistants above and beyond the 2.5 percent increase proposed for other classroom aides, Foster said she consulted with Supervisor of Exceptional Children’s Services Toby Guinn, to identify two classes of special education assistants. Foster recommended an additional $1 per hour raise for assistants who work with CDC (Comprehensive Development Class) students in inclusion classrooms and an additional $2 per hour for special education assistants working directly with students who have specific physical needs. The bonus would be paid at the end of the year contingent upon Guinn’s recommendation.

Guinn said the school paid higher workman’s compensation for special education assistants due to the hazards of the position. She emphasized the challenges of serving as a special education assistant and the special training required. Trained assistants often leave before the end of the year, Guinn said. The bonus would help promote retention.

The board concurred with increasing the wage for special education assistants. Foster will incorporate the increase in the next budget draft.

Turning to regular business, Director of Schools Stanley Bean announced the appointment of Sherry Cells as principal at North Lake Elementary. “The faculty is very excited,” Bean said. Sells is currently a third grade teacher at North Lake.

The board approved mobving forward with contracting for an individual to mow the field behind North Lake Elementary for hay. The contractor will be selected by a bid process. The school system will be compensated on a per bale basis. Facilities Supervisor Mark Montoye said the school system would not make any significant amount of money from the arrangement, but there would be a savings in time and mowing.

Addressing a recommendation stemming from recent audit findings that the school system “have a plan in place to monitor bookkeepers,” Bean said Tina Lindsay would assume the role of providing oversight. Lindsay holds an M.B.A. She currently serves as an administrative assistant to both Bean and Guinn, splitting her time between the two offices.

Gov. Lee Sets Expectation of Student-Centered Investments from Federal Education Funds

Monday, April 12, 2021 | 04:34pm

Historic level of federal funding should increase student achievement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn and members of the General Assembly urged school districts to ensure federal education funding goes directly toward student achievement. Tennessee has received nearly $4.5 billion in federal COVID-19 relief stimulus funding allocated specifically for K-12 education.

“By using these funds wisely and returning to in-person learning, we have the opportunity to set our students up for decades of success,” said Gov. Lee. “I appreciate the General Assembly passing common-sense provisions that ensure we stay focused on progress, not punishment as teachers, schools and districts get back on their feet after serious disruption.”

This funding should focus on the following priority areas:

  • Early reading, tutoring, and summer programming with a focus on phonics
  • Student readiness supports including ACT preparation
  • Expanding access to advanced coursework
  • CTE equipment and programs
  • Innovative high school models
  • K-12 mental health supports
  • Teacher recruitment and retention
  • Deferred maintenance for facilities
  • Technology for devices and high-speed internet
  • Serving special needs and low-income students

This significant funding creates opportunities for districts to invest in the success of Tennessee students to not only combat learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic but also accelerate achievement for all students across the state. Districts are encouraged to specifically focus on literacy and recent learning loss outlined in the legislation passed during the special legislative session focused on education.

“Tennessee K-12 districts and schools are receiving an historic amount of funding from the federal government, and as a result have both an incredible opportunity and responsibility to spend this funding to demonstrate how strong student-centered investments can generate positive outcomes and a growth in academic achievement for all children,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This funding implores us to invest strategically, implement with fidelity, and report on quantifiable outcomes transparently.”

After three rounds of federal COVID-19 stimulus funding, Tennessee’s K-12 schools will benefit from nearly $4.5 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds.

The Tennessee Department of Education has provided districts with resources and guidance for their planning and implementation to invest in a small number of high-impact items, within a cohesive and aligned strategy, that are most critical for students as they progress through their education and into their careers.

The Department has urged districts to allocate a minimum of one percent of their allocations to fund staffing support for the ongoing reporting, monitoring, and public transparency requirements associated with this funding.

District-level allocations for each round of federal funding are available here: round 1 (ESSER 1.0), round 2 (ESSER 2.0), and round 3 (ESSER 3.0).

Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe Announce Colonial Chemical to Expand in Marion County

Monday, April 12, 2021 | 10:00am

  • Surfactant product company will invest nearly $14 million in New Hope
  • Global supplier of surfactants used in personal care products and household cleaners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Colonial Chemical officials announced today that the surfactant product manufacturing company will expand operations in Marion County.

As part of the expansion, Colonial Chemical will invest $13.8 million and create 44 new jobs in New Hope over the next five years.

Located at 225 Colonial Dr., Colonial Chemical’s expansion will include renovations of its existing 25,000-square-foot warehouse and the addition of a stand-alone employee facility. Colonial Chemical will also construct a new R&D laboratory and tank farm, all of which is expected to be complete by 2025.

Founded in 1988, Colonial Chemical is a specialty chemical manufacturing company and global supplier of surfactants used in personal care products, household cleaners and various industrial applications.

Over the last five years, TNECD has supported nearly 80 economic development projects in Southeast Tennessee, accounting for more than 10,500 job commitments and $3.2 billion in capital investment.


“We’re proud to celebrate Colonial Chemical’s expansion in Marion County. Southeast Tennessee’s business landscape continues to grow due to the skilled workforce of our rural communities. I’d like to thank Colonial Chemical for creating new opportunities for the residents of New Hope and Marion County.” – Gov. Bill Lee

“Colonial Chemical has been a valued partner in Marion County for nearly 25 years, and this project will enable the company to support future growth. I congratulate Colonial Chemical on this expansion and thank the company for its continued commitment to Tennessee.” – TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe

“This is a busy time at Colonial Chemical. In the past year, we have upgraded significant systems in our plant, added additional reactor equipment, and moved our administrative offices into a new building. We have outgrown our existing warehouses for storage, and we’ve needed additional loading bays for the increased traffic that’s pouring into our plant. The additional space will help meet our needs for the immediate future. We are grateful for the investment and trust of TNECD as we grow and provide economic strength in the Sequatchie Valley.” – David Anderson, Jr., president, Colonial Chemical.

“Colonial Chemical opened their plant here in Marion County in the 90s with six employees and today they are close to 150 employees. We are very excited that their growth has continued through the years and that they are able to do another expansion at their New Hope plant. They are a great community partner and a company that provides good paying jobs for the citizens of Marion County. We also we want to thank the State of Tennessee for their help with making this expansion become a reality.” – Marion County Mayor David Jackson

“Colonial Chemical has been a good neighbor to the residents of New Hope. They have brought in jobs, they’ve spent money and time off hours beautifying our town, and they’ve been environmentally conscientious in operating a safe and productive chemical manufacturing site. Colonial is an essential partner in the growth of our community, and we’re all delighted to see them do well.” – New Hope Mayor Mark Myers

“TVA and Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative congratulate Colonial Chemical on its decision to expand operations in New Hope. It’s always an exciting day when we can celebrate a company’s commitment to continued growth in the Valley. We are proud to partner with Marion County, City of New Hope and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to support companies, like Colonial Chemical’s business success.” – John Bradley, TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development

“Marion County’s economy continues to grow and diversify. Colonial Chemical’s decision to bring more jobs into our community is a testament to our business-friendly environment and high quality of life. I am grateful to Colonial Chemical for continuing and expanding its excellent relationship with Marion County. Congratulations to Mayor Jackson and others who work together to make Marion County a positive place to locate and to grow your business. Our state is becoming increasingly more attractive as a place for businesses to grow, and I am committed to making sure we equip our citizens with the resources needed for a skilled workforce.” – Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma)

“I am pleased that Colonial Chemical has chosen to expand its current operations in New Hope and continue their investment in our community. I congratulate the company’s leaders and our state and local partners for working to create more jobs for our residents. I look forward to many more years of Colonial Chemical’s continued success.” – Rep. Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill)

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.


April 9, 2021

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has planned an outage for Saturday, May 1, that will affect members in the Sewanee and Sherwood communities.

Beginning at 4 a.m., Sewanee residents will experience a brief interruption in electric service, not to exceed 15 minutes, as Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) and TVA crews complete system upgrades. DREMC members in the Sherwood community can expect power to be out on Saturday for up to eight hours beginning at 5 a.m. This longer outage period is necessary to enable DREMC and TVA crews to work safely as they complete the planned upgrades, which includes pole and equipment replacements.


FC Schools Proposed Budget Highlights

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the April 5 workshop, the Franklin County School Board reviewed the proposed 2021–22 budget. The budget calls for a 2.5 percent cost of living wage increase for teachers, classified employees, and contract bus drivers. The board discussed allocating special education aides an even higher wage increase due to the demands of the position.

Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster said in addition to the cost-of-living increase, certified teachers would receive degree advancement wage increases, and increases based on years of service. The new years-of-service scale proposed by Foster includes an additional 2 percent raise for teachers who have served more than 20 years.

Foster also recommended an $11 per hour starting scale for teachers’ aides, slightly more than a 2.5 percent increase. Foster cited a possible federally mandated $15-per-hour minimum wage. “[Aides] are vastly underpaid,” Foster insisted.

Board member Sarah Marhevsky asked if special education aides should get paid even more. “More goes into those jobs,” Marhevsky said.

Director of Schools Stanley Bean said some school systems paid special education aids as much as $6,000 more annually. “Those people do the most difficult things in the school system,” Bean stressed, noting special education aides’ responsibilities included tasks like changing diapers. Bean suggested special education aides receive an additional $3,000 annually. Bean said money was available in the special education budget to cover the expense.

School board Vice Chair Lance Williams calculated an additional $2.50 per hour increase would mean a $3,500 annual increase. The board discussed the different responsibilities of different types of special education aides. Foster will consult with Supervisor of Exceptional Children’s Services Toby Guinn, to determine which special education aides should qualify for an additional wage increase. Foster said the wage increase would help to attract and retain staff for challenging positions.

The 2021–22 budget added one new permanent position, Foster said, an assistant principal to serve at all 11 elementary schools. In the past, the school system employed someone in that role who served primarily at Clark Memorial and Decherd elementary schools, the two elementary schools with the largest enrollment. In addition to assisting the regular principals, the assistant principal could assume the duties of a principal who took medical leave.

Bean said new temporary certified employees hired with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds would serve in the Academy of Virtual Schools and as reading specialists. The federal ESSER funds can only be used for programs addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic and must be spent by 2024.

Foster’s proposed budget also included a slightly more than 2.5 percent increase for substitute teachers to $70 per day for noncertified substitutes and $90 per day for certified substitutes. “We’re having a terrible time finding substitutes,” Foster said. During the current school year, teachers were paid to teach classes during their planning period to cover for absent teachers.

Instructional wages at $14,586,899, “are the biggest budget line,” Foster said.

Reviewing the revenue picture, Franklin County Finance Director Andrea Smith projected the schools could expect approximately $180,000 additionally from property taxes. She cautioned, however, the as yet unknown state appraisal ratio could negatively impact property tax revenue as had happened in the past. On the positive side, Smith projected the schools would receive significantly more in local option sales tax than the budgeted figure of $5,359,609. “Based on collections year to date, we’re $500,000 over for the year,” Smith said. She attributed the growth to local spending and the county now collecting tax for online sales.

The draft budget shows expenses exceeding revenue by $852,971. According to Smith, this could decrease by as much as $500,000 if the sales tax figures hold. “When the economy is good, you know the revenue will be there,” she observed. Smith also predicted the year end fund balance (the amount the school system holds in reserve) would be greater than the budgeted figure, meaning the schools would be “starting the year in a better position.”

Monteagle Planning: Lighting Ordinance, Parks, Tiny Homes

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the April 6 Monteagle Planning Commission meeting, the commission discussed adopting an anti-light-pollution ordinance, applying for a parks and recreation grant, and tiny homes regulations. The commission also took up two zoning questions.

Building Inspector Earl Geary referenced a model lighting ordinance drafted by the Engineering Society of North America and the International Dark Sky Association. “You can see lights 125 miles away,” Geary said. The requirements of the ordinance intended “to soften the blow of lighting.”

Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman pointed out this was the lighting ordinance Nashville used and the model RBT Enterprises had agreed to follow in the lighting design at the truck stop RBT hopes to build. “We need to come up with some model we can adopt…With future businesses coming in we will need to have [a lighting ordinance] that has some teeth in it,” Rodman said. “We would implement ours [anti-light pollution practices] as we change our lighting and develop lighting for the town.”

Geary said the ordinance used lumens-based metrics to measure lighting. The planning commission will hold a workshop to broaden their understanding of the proposed ordinance’s provisions.

Revisiting a parks and recreation grant the town might qualify for, Rodman asked town planner Garret Haynes for an update. Hayes explained the deadline was extended to September 2021 for communities, like Monteagle, who did not have a recent parks and recreation plan to allow them time to adopt one. The town will host a public meeting to invite public input on developing a parks and recreation plan suitable to the community.

Responding to planning commission member Dorraine Parmley’s question about tiny homes, Hayes said tiny homes must be in a tiny-homes subdivision in an area zoned R-4. Monteagle allows R-4 zoning, but currently has no property zoned R-4. In R-1 zoning, minimum square footage for a home is 800 square feet; in R-2 and R-3 zoning, minimum square footage is 600 feet. R-4 zoning does not stipulate a minimum square footage. Geary said International Building Codes had room size requirements that no room could be smaller than 120 square feet and no room can be less than 7 feet in any direction. “We need to look at [tiny homes] to be consistent with municipal codes and with our own codes,” Rodman said.

Geary brought up a request to put a double-wide mobile home on a South Central Avenue lot. The R-3 zoning prohibits double-wide mobile homes. A second problem stems from the proposed mobile home’s situation on the lot falling two inches short of the required property line set back. Hayes proposed rezoning the lot to R-2 and a variance on the set back as a possible solution.

Planning commission member MaryJane Flowers suggested the commission take into consideration what they wanted the character of the neighborhood to be, mobile homes, apartments, or single-family residences. “What are we wanting to happen to the property?” Flowers asked.

Hayes will look into possible ways of resolving the issue.

Hayes introduced a related request to rezone a property from C-2 to R-2 so the owner could add on to the residence and possibly build another residence. The commission tabled the issue until the May 4 meeting, since the owner requesting the amended zoning was not present to answer questions.

The commission also anticipates taking up the proposed truck stop site plan on May 4.

Local Leaders Celebrate Impact of National Service on the Plateau

On April 6, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South, Reuben Brigety and Grundy County Mayor, Michael Brady joined local leaders across the country in a nationwide, bipartisan initiative to highlight the impact of national service in tackling local problems. This year’s event is especially meaningful, as tens of thousands of AmeriCorps members across the country support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of the National Service Recognition Day ceremony, traditionally held on the campus of the University of the South, leaders separately issued proclamations recognizing April 6 as National Service Recognition Day. Now in its ninth year, National Service Recognition Day underscores the positive impact of national service, recognizes those who serve, and encourages more citizens to give back to their communities.

“As the pandemic has upended our way of life in every conceivable way, plateau communities need national service now more than ever. In these tenuous times, AmeriCorps VISTA members have made our community safer, stronger and healthier. We are deeply grateful for your dedication and sacrifice,” wrote Vice-Chancellor Brigety and Mayor Brady in a joint statement. “Let us all pledge to do our part to strengthen our community through volunteering and service.”

One of the largest VISTA programs in the state of Tennessee, the South Cumberland Plateau AmeriCorps VISTA Project serves local nonprofits and government agencies to alleviate poverty in the tri-county area of Franklin, Grundy, and Marion. Between 14 and 16 full-year VISTA members serve in the program, providing vital support to community partners. In the summer months, twenty additional Summer Associate VISTAs join their ranks to help address summer food insecurity and academic learning loss among local youth.

The South Cumberland Plateau VISTA Project is currently accepting applications for the Summer Associate VISTA program, which operates from June 7 through Aug. 2. Anyone 18 years or older is welcome to apply. Summer Associate VISTAs support the South Cumberland Summer Meal program, which served 50,000 free meals to plateau children during the summer of 2020. Apply to become a Summer Associate VISTA by googling “SCPVP Summer Associate VISTA.”

The VISTA project additionally has open full-year service positions at the Grundy Safe Babies Court, Grundy Safe Communities Coalition and Franklin County Prevention Coalition. For information about becoming a VISTA member, enlisting a VISTA to join your organization, or participating in the South Cumberland Summer Meal Program, please visit <https://tinyurl.com/scvista>; or contact Vicki Borchers at <vmborche@sewanee.edu>.

Mountain Goat Trail Race Returns on April 24

The seventh Mountain Goat Trail Race will have a unique format this year when it takes place on Saturday, April 24.

A two-mile race for Grundy and Monteagle elementary-school students in Tracy City at 8:30 a.m. will be followed by a 5K for University of the South students in Sewanee, co-sponsored by the Office of Campus Activities, at 10 a.m. A virtual 5K option will be offered for all others who want to participate. Registration closes April 23.

The Mountain Goat Trail Run & Walk in Tracy City will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Old Roundhouse Park. This event will be for elementary students from Grundy County and Monteagle. There will be an out-and-back 2-mile run and walk.

The Mountain Goat Trail Run & Walk in Sewanee for University of the South students will begin at 10 a.m. in front of Ayres Hall near Mitchell Avenue. There will be an out-and-back 5K run and walk.

Everyone else is invited to a virtual run or walk 5K in support of the Mountain Goat Trail. Registration and run posting will be through Ultrasignup; registration is $25. You can post your route and time between April 17-24 via Strava, MapMyRun, or other apps. Run/walk your own 5K between April 17–24.

To learn more or to register, go to <www.mountaingoattrail.org/run/>.

Knoll Community Clean-up Scheduled for April 17

Grab your work gloves and meet at the Mountain Goat Trailhead (across the by-pass from Taylor’s) for Sewanee’s annual Arthur Knoll Community Clean-up, Saturday, April 17. The University’s Facilities Management office will supply garbage bags and trash grabbers. Participants will fan out to pick up roadside and streamside litter, 9–11 a.m., depositing their haul back at the trailhead. At 11 a.m., head to the Blue Chair for free coffee and pastry, courtesy of the Office of Leases and Community Relations. Treats in hand, gather (social distancing) with Mother Nature (Yes! She’s coming!) at Angel Park for a short celebration and the first-ever awarding of the Platinum Beauty Ring for exceptional participation in the clean-up. The event will be held even in drizzly weather, but in case of a deluge it will take place the following day, Sunday, April 18, 1–3 p.m. Named in honor of the late Arthur Knoll, the annual clean-up is sponsored by the Sewanee Community Council, in partnership with the University’s offices of Facilities Management and Leases & Community Relations.

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