TN Promise Needs 2,100 Volunteer Mentors by Friday, December 3, 2021

With only four days remaining until the application deadline, tnAchieves still needs 2,100 volunteer mentors across the state.

Those interested in learning more or applying can visit

Mentors serve as an important resource for students as they transition from high school to college. They provide reminders, serve as a resource and offer encouragement for students as they work to achieve college success.

“tnAchieves’ success lies in its community-based approach. Mentors offer a local support system for TN Promise students as they make the leap from high school to college,” said tnAchieves Executive Director Krissy DeAlejandro. “No experience is required as tnAchieves prepares you to help students navigate the transition. In 2022, mentors will play a critical role in reversing negative enrollment trends brought on by the pandemic. If you have one hour a month to encourage local students in their pursuit of a college credential, you can be a successful mentor.”

“My mentor’s patience and persistence inspired me and kept me on track to attend college. If it were not for her checking in with me, I might have given up on college or missed important deadlines,” said Autumn, a current TN Promise student. “I am now enrolled in college, which never would have felt possible without my mentor’s guidance.”

tnAchieves mentoring only requires a one hour per month time commitment. While the time commitment is small, the impact on a student’s life can be significant. tnAchieves mentors can also choose whether they serve their students virtually or in-person.

Potential mentors must be 21 years of age, are subject to a background check and must complete a one hour training session. tnAchieves will provide weekly updates and support throughout the mentoring process! You can learn more or become a mentor today by completing an application by December 3 at!

tnAchieves is a privately‐funded scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to provide an opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a post‐secondary degree.

If you have questions about the tnAchieves mentoring program, please contact Tyler Ford at (309) 945-3446 or

Twelve Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Projects Selected Across The State

The Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program has selected twelve teams to participate in the 2022 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Entering its sixth year, the Program is designed to sustain Tennessee’s diverse folklife practices by investing in the passing of traditional art forms from master artists to the next generation.

“This Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program has developed into a key initiative for preserving traditions that are rare or endangered in Tennessee. In many ways, Tennessee is defined by its cultural heritage, but we know that we cannot take these traditions for granted. This program works to ensure that these traditions are a vibrant part of our state’s future,” said Jan McNally, Tennessee Arts Commission Board Chair.

Each of the twelve teams selected to participate is committed to preserving a traditional folklife art form that is deeply rooted in their cultural heritage. The artists will embark on one-on-one or small group training for an eight-month period.

“Traditional arts are essential to the story we tell about ourselves, and that we tell to visitors,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “For many of these artists, this program is an investment in the sustainability of their family business or a way of life. Folklife practices enhance livability and the pride of place in all Tennessee communities, especially in our rural areas.”

The master artists awarded this recognition from the Tennessee Arts Commission are considered to be of exceptional skill as recognized by fellow artists, community members, and folk arts leaders. Five of this year’s master and apprentice teams from the Appalachian region are funded through a special partnership with the South Arts’ initiative In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Art & Culture.

The awarded apprentices are chosen by the master artist. Each apprentice demonstrated outstanding aptitude and potential in the chosen traditional art form. Folklife practices include traditional music, crafts, dance, foodways, and occupational skills. Traditional art forms are learned and passed down informally by imitation, word of mouth, observation, or performance in cultural communities that share family, ethnic, tribal, regional, occupational, or religious identity.

“Our state is rich with traditional art forms, some that have been here for decades or centuries, and others that are newer. However, many traditions have only a handful of living practitioners,” said Dr. Bradley Hanson, Tennessee Arts Commission Director of Folklife. “Since 2016, the Commission has funded over fifty folklife apprenticeship projects. Taken as a whole, these artists comprise an inspiring panorama of Tennessee culture.”

Masters and apprentices will also share their work together in public and online performances and demonstrations. All projects are documented by the Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program to further archive and preserve the state’s current folklife practices.

A panel of traditional arts and folklife specialists was convened to review a deep and highly competitive applicant pool. The twelve teams are:

Marcellus Barnes, master and Quanterious Caruthers, apprentice. African American Gospel Singing. Chattanooga and Ooltewah, TN.*

Sarah Boyd, master and Elizabeth Fulbright, apprentice. Doll Repair and Restoration. Maryville, TN.*

Paul Brewster, master and Wyatt Ellis, apprentice. Bluegrass Singing. Gallatin and Maryville, TN.

Yvonne Harbin, master and D. Michael Campbell, apprentice. Traditional Herbalism. McMinnville and Altamont, TN.*

Harold Howell, master and Jimmy Bilbrey, apprentice. Fiddle Making. Cookeville, TN.*

Jack Martin, master and Kelly Wright, apprentice. Broommaking. Selmer and Pinson, TN.

Carmen McCord, master and Ian Kirkpatrick, apprentice. Unaccompanied Ballad Singing. Bon Aqua and New Tazewell, TN.

Aundra McCoy, master and Andree Glenn, apprentice. Mixed Media Quilting. Memphis, TN.

Arkan Muhammed, master and Ayan Muhammed, apprentice. Traditional Kurdish Music. Murfreesboro, TN.

Richard Turner, master and Jeffery Boyland, apprentice. Canning and Food Preservation. Stanton, TN.

Jeanette Underwood, master and Charlotte Underwood, apprentice. Appalachian Agricultural Folkways. LaFollette, TN.*

Felipe Vasquez, master and Michael Galvin, apprentice. Traditional Dance of Michoacán, “La Danza de los Viejitos” (Dance of the Old Men). White Pine and Morristown, TN.

*These teams are funded through a special partnership with the South Arts’ initiative In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Art & Culture.


University of the South senior Klarke Stricklen is one of 32 American students chosen as Rhodes Scholars for 2022, making her the university's 27th Rhodes Scholar—and the first African American to be selected from Sewanee.

The awards, announced Nov. 21, provide all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford University in England. The winners were selected from 826 applicants endorsed by 247 different colleges and universities. The scholars will enter Oxford next fall.

Stricklen is an American Studies major and African American Studies minor from Chattanooga. She was named a Truman Scholar last spring. Her honors thesis concentrates on Black reparations by arguing for the moral responsibility of higher educational institutions with ties to the slave trade and slavery. At Oxford, she plans to pursue an M.Sc. in Economic and Social History.

At Sewanee, Stricklen has been a student research assistant for the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, and a member of the Roberson Project working group, the campus chapter of NAACP, and Bairnwick Women’s Center. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and history honor society Phi Alpha Theta, and received the Davis Family Scholarship for leadership and community service and the Isabel Caldwell Marks Memorial Scholarship. She previously interned in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

“Klarke embodies Maya Angelou's idea that ‘History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.’ Through her important work with the Roberson Project, she has helped to uncover and contextualize the university's historical entanglements with slavery and its legacies,” said Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety. “While working to understand the university's past, Klarke has also led efforts to move the university community toward a better version of what it could be.”

The University of the South had 26 Rhodes Scholars prior to Stricklen's award—a number that puts Sewanee in the top rank nationally among American liberal arts colleges. The value of a Rhodes Scholarship averages approximately $75,000 per year, though the value varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master’s, doctoral) chosen.

Elliot F. Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, described this year’s class of Rhodes Scholars as “inspiring young leaders,” adding, “We are confident that their contributions to public welfare nationally and globally will expand exponentially over the course of their careers in varied sectors and disciplines.”


This Saturday is the perfect day to start your holiday shopping with gifts sourced from Tennessee farms and food businesses.

November 27 is set aside for Small Business Saturday to encourage shoppers to support local businesses. Gift buying is easy in your area with Pick Tennessee Products.

“Thoughtfully chosen gifts from a farm business or independent shop owner are special for several reasons,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “When you purchase locally, you get creatively crafted goods, and you create an economic ripple that strengthens rural communities.”

Whether purchasing online, buying from a farm, or ordering gift baskets, many Tennessee businesses are available to provide local and quality products this holiday season.

Some of these small businesses specialize in gift baskets made with Tennessee products, such as HeavenlyTreats4U in Nolensville. “We love working with our local artisans to curate gifts that reflect the lifestyle of Tennesseans,” owner Shelia Horvath said. “As we grow our business, we are helping the small business community grow theirs.”

“Shopping locally for the holidays not only supports the local families who own these businesses, but also invests in our community by keeping our dollars circulating right here in our own state,”Chattanooga’s Locals Only Gifts and Goods owner Danielle Landrum said. “At our gift store, we sell only items from Tennessee artists, artisans, and businesses, and our customers love giving and receiving our made-in-Tennessee gift boxes filled with wonderfully crafted local products.”

Gift baskets filled artisan cheeses, meats, sauces and jellies, local wines, handmade chocolates, and other festive foods are available. Gourmet baskets are a great choice for business associates, family, and friends. Don’t have time to deliver your gifts? Check with your small business shop to see if shipping services are offered.

Pick Tennessee Products is your go-to source to find farm and artisan products near you. Pick Tennessee directories connect shoppers with more than 2,500 Tennessee farm-direct and food businesses, many of them small businesses.

Visit Pick Tennessee's website at or use the free Pick Tennessee mobile app. Follow @PickTNProducts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

'Craft Day at the Museum' Offers Opportunity to Meet and Learn from Some of Tennessee’s Finest Craft Artists

Free Family and Holiday Event at Tennessee State Museum with Tennessee Craft Takes Place December 11

The Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee Craft invite the public to “Craft Day at the Museum,” a family-day holiday celebration and demonstration with some of Tennessee’s best craft artists, on Saturday, December 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participating craft artists, all of whom have work in the Best of Tennessee 2021 Biennial exhibition currently on view at the Museum, include keynote speaker JoEl Levy LoGiudice, along with Chris Armstrong, Richard Dwyer, Monya Nikahd, Ashley Seay, and Betty Ziemer. Visitors will get to meet the artists, see them demonstrate their craft and how they approach their work, learn what inspires them, and discover why they work in their mediums.

To inspire Tennessee’s future craft artists, the Tennessee State Museum’s Children’s Gallery will host a day of kids’ crafts and activities, including the creation of holiday ornaments and decorations. Adults are also invited to guided tours of the Best of Tennessee Craft 2021 Biennial. The lunch time keynote in the Museum’s Digital Learning Center by LoGiudice will include an audience Q & A.

Admission to the Tennessee State Museum and Craft Day activties is free. A Craft Day at the Museum schedule and participating artist biographies follow.

Schedule of Events (Subject to Change)

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Artist Demonstrations in the Grand Hall

10:30 a.m. – Kids’ Story Time in the Children’s Gallery: Curious About Curious George (Kids Craft: Snowflake Art)

11 a.m. – Kids’ Craft Hour: Make Holiday Cards (based on Carrie Anne Parks’s work in the exhibition)

11 a.m. – Best of Tennessee Craft 2021 Biennial Highlights Tour

12 – 1 p.m. – Keynote Address by JoEl Levy LoGiudice and Q & A with Craft Artists

1 – 3 p.m. – Artist Demonstrations in the Grand Hall

1 p.m. – Kids’ Craft Hour: Paper and Ornament Weaving

2 p.m. – Best of Tennessee Craft 2021 Biennial Highlights Tour

2 p.m. – Kids’ Craft Hour in the Children’s Gallery: Holiday Art

Artist Biographies:

As a practicing weaver/designer/jewelry maker and bead maker, Keynote Speaker JoEl Levy LoGiudice is a prolific artist. She is also an in-demand workshop leader at numerous craft schools nationally, sharing her technical and creative skills in various medium manipulation and in design. JoEl is also a seasoned arts administrator who served as a Vanderbilt University art force for over 30 years. Within this realm, JoEl is well known and respected amongst her higher education peers, artists, and members of the community within Tennessee and beyond. She joined the Tennessee Craft Board in 2021 after a long history with the organization.

Chris Armstrong learned to needle felt wool into small sculptures from a teacher at his daughter’s school in 2003. It was fun and people liked what he made. Ten years later, with some time on his hands, he took it up again with dedication. It was still fun, and he now sells his pieces at a few craft shows a year. Usually he makes animals, dressed up like people, in unlikely situations. His goal is to make people smile and to tell just enough of a story to let folks imagine their own.

Richard Dwyer spent the beginning of his adult life on college campuses earning degrees and teaching at Rutgers University and the State University of New York in New York City. Throughout his busy career he maintained a fascination and passion for working with wood in his free time. In retirement Dwyer moved to the beautiful mountains of northeast Tennessee, enabling him to fulfill a life-long wish to add a lathe to his collection. He then became addicted to the art form that produces piles of wood shavings. Dwyer has been involved in the Best of Tennessee Craft Art show for several years, winning second place in 2018’s juried contest. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Tennessee State Museum, the Reece Museum on the campus of ETSU, and in several private collections.

Monya Nikahd is an Iranian-American handweaver and emerging artist from Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fibers from Tennessee Tech University in 2020. She has received awards such as the 2021 Windgate Lamar Fellowship from the Center for Craft, Best Emerging Maker from the Tennessee Craft Fair. Other accomplishments to date include work displayed at Appalachian Center for Craft, Number Magazine, Techspressionism, the Tennessee State Museum, and the Praxis Fiber Workshop Digital Weaving Residency in Cleveland, Ohio. Her goal as a handweaver is to push the boundaries of a medium typically perceived as ‘soft’ and domestic into our digital era. Her approach to weaving is experimental and relies on trial-and-error because of her unconventional use of materials and methods.

Ashley Seay is the owner of SuperNatural Relief, a printmaking studio that offers original art with a focus in woodblock printing, custom logo woodblocks, wood sculpture and design, pattern design, and fabric printing. She has over 10 years of experience in the printmaking medium. Woodblock printing is done by reversing an image, carving it on a piece of wood by leaving the image’s outline on the wood, and then the block is inked and printed on a substance like paper or fabric. A printing press is used to reproduce prints with even pressure. Her artwork is inspired by history, nature, Ancestors, Universe, and family and friends.

As a child, Becky Ziemer had many different interests and enjoyed all forms of artistic expression, but none of them captured her attention like clay. After getting a BFA in graphic design from the University of Mississippi and spending 15 years in that profession, she realized that her heart kept going back to ceramics. That, along with rising Etsy sales and a wholesale inquiry from a nationally known gift catalog, convinced her to drop graphic design and take the leap to become a full-time ceramics artist in 2015. Becky Zee loves to make whimsical creatures, or “critters,” of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

About Tennessee Craft

About Tennessee Craft: Tennessee Craft, formerly The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA), works to continue and create Tennessee’s fine craft tradition. With more than 500 members throughout the state, Tennessee Craft serves as the premier connecting point for local, independent makers and their audiences through craft fairs, exhibitions, professional development, networking, mentorship and other educational programs. Visit to learn more.

About Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum, on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions titled Natural History, First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Change and Challenge and Tennessee Transforms, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events and educational and digital programing – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements. The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.. and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions and events, please visit

‘Christmas on the Silver Screen’ Concert

The Sewanee Symphony Orchestra presents a light family-friendly concert featuring music at the intersection of Christmas and the movies. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3, in Guerry Auditorium.

Spotlighting favorites like “Carol of the Bells,” “Greensleeves,” and well-known music from “The Polar Express,” “Home Alone,” and “Schindler's List,” this concert will also present the world premiere of film music by Prakash Wright, Professor and composer from the Department of Music, presented live with film.

The SSO Percussion Ensemble will also present other Christmas favorites, along with a special prelude in the University Arts Gallery courtesy of the Film Studies department and the Arts Amplified initiative.

Cowan Christmas Parade and Market

The 57th annual Cowan Christmas Parade will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4. Staging and line-up will be at South Middle School and Davis Street, starting at noon. The official parade route will start at the former Cookie’s Market and continue through town, ending at Cowan Elementary School.

The deadline for submitting parade entry forms is noon, Friday, Dec. 3.

The Christmas Market at Monterey Station will return 4–9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4. There will be free photos with Santa and other activities during Friday evening.

Door prizes will be given away each hour on Friday and Saturday. Make sure to get a ticket for the door prize drawings.

For more information go to

Monteagle Holiday Events

Monteagle will hold its Christmas parade at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4. Floats, emergency vehicles and classic cars line up at the Monteagle VFW, at 4 p.m. Walkers and bicycles start behind The Depot. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best decorated, most town spirit, and the best representation of the “Hard Candy Christmas” theme.

Greet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Harton Park after the parade. Snacks will be provided.

Crafts and homemade foods will be available for purchase from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Dec. 2 and 3, in the the Monteagle Town Hall.

For more information, call (931) 924-2265.

Light Up the Village

Music will begin in Angel Park in downtown Sewanee at 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3. The St. Andrew’s-Sewanee vocal ensemble will lead the Christmas caroling. Santa Claus and friends will come to downtown via a Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department truck. Santa has been vaccinated.

The tree lighting at Angel Park will be at 6 p.m. Cookies and hot beverages will be available, and Santa and friends will be posing for photos.

University Avenue will be closed from 5–8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3, from Regions Bank to U.S Highway 41A for the event.

Please bring unwrapped toys and monetary donations for Operation Noel. Gifts of money and nonperishable food will also be collected for the Community Action Committee.

In case of inclement weather, the downtown post-tree-lighting activities will move inside to the Blue Chair Bakery and Tavern.

This event is hosted by the Sewanee Business Alliance. The Sewanee Children’s Center students made the ornaments for the tree decor.

Greening of the Chapel

On Friday, Dec. 3, members of the Sewanee community are invited to join in the Greening of All Saints’ Chapel in preparation for the 62nd annual Festival of Lessons and Carols to be held Dec. 4 and 5. Work begins at 9 a.m. All levels of experience are welcomed and very much needed. We also encourage you to bring any treasures from your garden (dried hydrangea, nandina, and other berries, unusual evergreen clippings, etc.) which can be used to decorate wreaths and garlands. Coffee and pastries will be served throughout the morning, and a light lunch will be available at noon. Ken Taylor, of Taylor’s Mercantile, will direct the day’s activities.

There will be a tour of the decorations for Lessons and Carols at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5. Meet Ken Taylor in the narthex of All Saints’ Chapel.

Sewanee Senior Center Christmas Bazaar, Dec. 6–11

The Sewanee Senior Center, located at 5 Ball Park Rd., announces its 2021 Christmas Bazaar, which will be open each day Monday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 11.

Featured will be baked goods including cookies, cakes, pies, candies, crafts, canned goods (jams and jellies), handmade items and White Elephant items.

A door prize will be given away each day of the Bazaar. Tickets are for sale at $2 each for the Christmas Quilt. The winner of the quilt and a $250 cash prize will be announced at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 14. You do not have to be present to win the main drawing or door prizes.

All donations except clothes are accepted. Donations help keep the Center in operation. For more information call the Center at (931) 598-0771.

Monteagle Approves Rezoning, Deletes Rezoning Findings Requirement

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 15 special called meeting, the Monteagle Council approved, on second reading, rezoning a 5 acre tract to allow for commercial development and voted to delete an ordinance provision requiring the council to determine proposed rezoning met five criteria. The council also approved, on second reading, zoning amendments to personnel policy and beer sales.

At the meeting’s outset Vice Mayor Dorraine Parmley said, “There will be four ordinances on the agenda tonight we will be voting on. We cannot discuss anything else.”

The council first took up the ordinance rezoning a 5 acre tract on the corner of Ingman Road and Highway 41 owned by Jason Tate. No one came forward to comment at the public hearing on the rezoning prior to the meeting. The R-3 to C-2 rezoning will allow Tate to move forward with his intention to build a 6,000 square foot structure to house his screen-printing business [See Messenger, Oct. 8, 2021].

The second reading of Ordinance 20-21 deleted Subsection C of Section 1207. The deleted language required the planning commission and council to make specific “findings” when weighing a rezoning amendment. With the provision eliminated, the commission and council no longer need to take into account the following: the rezoning “is in agreement with the general plan for the area;” the rezoning “does not violate the legal grounds for zoning provisions;” possible “adverse effects upon adjoining or adjacent property owners unless such adverse effect can be justified by the overwhelming public good or welfare;” “that no one property owner or small group of property owners will benefit materially from the change to the detriment of the general public;” and “that conditions affecting the area have changed to a sufficient extent to warrant an amendment to the area’s general plan.”

At the September meeting, Mayor Marilyn Rodman pointed out the findings requirement had rarely been followed. City attorney Sam Elliot recommended removing the requirement [See Messenger, Oct.1, 2021].

Alderman Nate Wilson voted against deleting the findings requirement.

The amended personnel policy requires an employee injured on the job who wishes to file a claim for workmen’s compensation to report the incident to their supervisor within 24 hours. The amendment to the ordinance regulating beer sales prohibits sale, manufacture, and storage of beer within 200 feet door-to-door of a school, residence, church, or other place of public gathering. Previously the ordinance stipulated the 200-feet distance measurement applied from property line to property line [See Messenger, Oct. 29, 2021].

The council will not meet on Nov. 29, the regularly scheduled date.

SUD: Cost Increase Drives Rate Increase

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 16 meeting, the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners approved a 2022 budget calling for a 2 percent rate increase. The board also approved two provisions affecting employees: a year-end bonus and vacation policy amendment. With two commissioner seats coming open in 2022, the board is actively seeking candidates to run for the office of commissioner in the January election.

“We are expecting substantial increases in the price of materials and supplies across the industry which will put significant pressure on our operating budget if rates remain unchanged,” SUD manager Ben Beavers said in his budget summary. The cost of chemicals, pipes, fittings and fuel have increased dramatically. Without the rate increase, projected expenses would exceed projected revenue by $15,000. “I’ve cut the budget to keep the rate increase as low as possible,” Beavers insisted. “I don’t think we can put it off any longer.”

On average, customers with water service only will see a bill increase of less than $1 per month. For customers with both water and sewer service, the average increase will be under $2. The budget includes a 4 percent increase in employee hourly wages, but Beavers stressed the increase was less than the current 5.8 percent inflation rate.

Beavers noted SUD had relatively high employee overtime costs, dictated in part by the need to have employees on-call. Justifying the overtime cost, Beavers explained the total cost equaled less than half the cost of hiring an additional employee. “The labor market is tough,” Commissioner Doug Cameron said in support of the strategy.

Pointing to another budget driver, Beavers said SUD’s interest earnings had decreased from $25,000-$30,000 annually, two years ago, to $4,000 annually at the present.

In the discussion about the annual employee holiday dinner, Commissioner Randall Henley suggested giving the employees a bonus instead, citing COVID risks. “It makes sense,” Beavers said. Henley noted employees did not receive a raise in 2021. The employee dinner cost $1,500 by Beavers’ estimate. The board voted to cancel the dinner this year and give employees at $250 year-end bonus.

Beavers directed the board’s attention to a difficult circumstance arising from the current vacation policy which stated once an employee accumulated 240 hours (30 days) of paid vacation time, they must reduce the total hours by taking vacation time or lose the hours over 240. This potentially could result in staffing shortages from employees taking long vacations or several employees taking vacations simultaneously. The policy amendment recommended by Beavers allows employees to reduce accumulated vacation days by taking a cash reimbursement for the days earned. “The money is already in the budget,” he said.

The seats of commissioners Randall Henley and Paul Evans will come open in February. Henley is term limited and cannot seek reelection. Evans has not declared whether he will run again. Any SUD customer can serve as a commissioner. Potential candidates should contact the SUD office (931) 598-5611 by Monday, Dec. 13. Commissioners receive a $50 stipend for each meeting.

Community Chest Spotlight: Sewanee Elementary School

The 2021-22 Sewanee Community Chest (SCC) Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the SCC raises money yearly for local charitable organizations serving the area. This year’s goal of $102,291 will help 20 organizations that have requested basic needs funding for quality of life, community aid, children’s programs, and those who are beyond Sewanee but still serve our entire community.

This week we shine the spotlight on Sewanee Elementary.

Since 1867 there has been a long-standing relationship between the community and the public school. For years this voluntary community commitment maintained the educational system, such as St. Paul’s on the Mountain school and the school on Billy Goat Hill.

When the Sewanee Civitan Club (now the Sewanee Civic Association) was first organized, its objective of good citizenship included “a comprehensive program for the betterment and improvement of every phase of community activity.” (Chitty) This included providing school facilities. At that time, the Franklin County Board of Education agreed to pay the salaries of teachers, but did not provide the buildings. The University at that time was unable to help with the expenses. Funding for a new public school became a community goal. The school building would be on University leasehold land, owned by the Sewanee Civitan Club, and operated by the Franklin County School Board.

Funds were raised in the community and the Sewanee Public School was completed in 1927 through volunteer efforts. In 1933, the community built the Roosevelt Addition. In 1943, more than half of the town’s SCC budget went to maintain the school, and fund programs for enrichment and the purchase of supplies. The county took over the maintenance of the school in 1955 when the building and land were turned over to the county as long as a school remained on that site.

The Sewanee Elementary School (SES) continues to rely on yearly funding from the SCC to meet the school’s needs. This funding commitment “has served the intentional purpose of eliminating the door-to-door fundraising.” (Chitty)

The Sewanee Elementary Parent Organization (SES PO), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, requests and disburses the SCC funds each year for SES. All money received is used for yearly support to the school. The SES PO works with teachers and staff to find solutions to specific educational needs of the school that are not met by the Franklin County School system funding or services.

The SCC is the primary source of revenue for the SES PO’s general operating and project-based support. The SES PO also receives money through annual dues. This year the SES PO will receive $25,000 if the SCC goal is met.

The money raised for the school will go to fund classroom supplies; the library for new books, and material purchases to make the library more reading friendly; enrichment funds for Friday School, Field Day, and TCAP Carnival; place-based learning for more outdoor classroom experiences; the work study University of the South program to pay part-time student classroom helpers; technology purchases; and professional development funds.

Since 1908, the goal of the Sewanee Community Chest has been to help citizens by funding the community. With Community Chest donations, local organizations provide for basic needs such as books, food, recreational spaces, elder care, children’s educational needs and more. The Sewanee Community Chest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and donations are tax-deductible. Send your donation to Sewanee Community Chest, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375. Go to for more information.

Editor’s Note: For complete information on the history of the public schools, see the “Sewanee Sampler” by Arthur Ben and Elizabeth N. Chitty, 1978.

USDA Invests $86 Million to Improve Equitable Access to Jobs, Business Opportunities, Education, Health Care and Housing for Rural People

Investments Will Help More Than 425,000 People in Some of the Nation’s Most Disadvantaged Areas

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 18, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $86 million to improve equitable access to jobs, business opportunities, education, housing and health care for people who live and work in rural areas. The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural communities have equitable access to the infrastructure and opportunities often taken for granted by people living in urban and suburban areas.

“Regardless of where they live, their race, ethnicity or gender, or the size of the town in which they live, all people must have access to decent housing, clean water and good job opportunities,” Vilsack said. “This is foundational to a healthy society and stable communities. Today’s announcements build on the historic investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Biden to ensure equity during a time when people living in underserved places are suffering the most. These investments will go a long way toward helping America ‘Build Back Better’ toward a just and more equitable society.”


Vilsack highlighted 218 investments that USDA is making in six programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Tribal College Initiative Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grantsand Water and Waste Disposal Grants.

The funding will help more than 425,000 people in 46 states, Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs. It will help low-income people make health and safety repairs to their homes. It will help build and improve water and wastewater infrastructure for people living in U.S. communities along the Mexico border. It will help rural business owners in the Mississippi Delta get access to capital and business development assistance. It also will help colleges that serve Tribal populations upgrade campus buildings and services.

In Tennessee:

  • The Knoxville Leadership Foundation is receiving a $250,000 Rural Community Development Initiative grant to provide technical assistance to ten rural recipients for capacity building to fight substance abuse in East Tennessee. This assistance will enable the recipients to strengthen their ability to understand and address substance use disorder and issues related to COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to addressing capacity-building. The project will benefit the approximately 86,500 residents within the service area of the ten rural recipients located in Greeneville, Sevierville, Seymour, Morristown, Rutledge, Wartburg, Greenback, Oneida and Chuckey, Tenn.
  • Appalachia Service Project Inc. is receiving a $180,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help 24 qualified very-low and low income homeowners make needed repairs or improvements to their existing homes in Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington Counties.
  • Mountain T.O.P. Inc is receiving a $75,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help ten qualified very-low and low income homeowners make needed repairs or improvements to their existing homes in Grundy County.
  • Loudon County Habitat for Humanity is receiving a $103,500 Housing Preservation Grant to help ten qualified very-low and low income homeowners make needed repairs or improvements to their existing homes in Loudon County.
  • Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties Inc. is receiving a $75,000 Housing Preservation Grant to help three qualified very-low and low income homeowners make needed repairs or improvements to their existing homes in Anderson County.
  • University of Tennessee is receiving a $547,293 Delta Health Care Grant to purchase equipment and to administer technical assistance for UT Martin through the De-escalation Techniques and Emergency Response (DETER) program. DETER will educate law enforcement officers, community leaders and other stakeholders within the Delta Region. It will provide training and education through the classroom and virtual simulation to enhance positive community-police relationships, which will result in improved public health outcomes in the rural area.
  • Dyersburg State Community College is receiving a $339,878 Delta Health Care Grant to provide funds for the renovation of a surgical lab space for the college’s degree program in surgical technology. The purpose of this project is to strengthen the capacity and responsiveness of the college to meet the needs of local and regional health care providers through a skilled workforce. The project will also serve delta residents by meeting the need for surgical technologist in rural hospitals and out-patient surgery centers.

The 218 awards Secretary Vilsack announced today are being made in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris Administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit

Show more posts

2024 June
2024 May
2024 April
2024 March
2024 February
2024 January
2023 December
2023 November
2023 October
2023 September
2023 August
2023 July
2023 June
2023 May
2023 April
2023 March
2023 February
2023 January
2022 December
2022 November
2022 October
2022 September
2022 August
2022 July
2022 June
2022 May
2022 April
2022 March
2022 February
2022 January
2021 December
2021 November
2021 October
2021 September
2021 August
2021 July
2021 June
2021 May
2021 April
2021 March
2021 February
2021 January
2020 December
2020 November
2020 October
2020 September
2020 August
2020 July
2020 June
2020 May
2020 April
2020 March
2020 February
2020 January
2019 December
2019 November
2019 October
2019 September
2019 August
2019 July
2019 June
2019 May
2019 April
2019 March
2019 February
2019 January
2018 December
2018 November
2018 October
2018 September
2018 August
2018 July
2018 June
2018 May
2018 April
2018 March
2018 February
2018 January
2017 December
2017 November
2017 October
2017 September
2017 August
2017 July
2017 June
2017 May
2017 April
2017 March
2017 February
2017 January
2016 December
2016 November
2016 October
2016 September
2016 August
2016 July
2016 June
2016 May
2016 April
2016 March
2016 February
2016 January
2015 December
2015 November
2015 October
2015 September
2015 August
2015 July
2015 June
2015 May
2015 April
2015 March
2015 February
2015 January
2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January
2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September
2013 August
2013 July
2013 June
2013 May
2013 April
2013 March
2013 February
2013 January
2012 December
2012 November
2012 October
2012 September
2012 August
2012 July
2012 June
2012 May
2012 April
2012 March
2012 February
2012 January
2011 December
2011 November
2011 October
2011 September
2011 August
2011 July
2011 June
2011 May
2011 April
2011 March
2011 February
2011 January
2010 December
2010 November
2010 October
2010 September
2010 August
2010 July
2010 June
2010 May