Public Notice, Town of Monteagle

Sealed Bids for the Fire Hydrant Testing Project will be received by the Town of Monteagle located at 16 Dixie Lee Ave, Monteagle, TN 37356 until 3:00 pm local time on January 10,2022, at which time the Bids received will be publicly opened and read.

The Project consists of performing fire flow tests and painting of hydrants per the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to determine the relative available fire service, identify any deficiencies, and perform standard operation & maintenance. It is estimated there are approximately 215 hydrants within the water distribution system. Additionally, a GPS reading of each hydrant shall be taken with no less than mapping grade accuracy (+/- 3 feet). All GPS coordinates shall be associated with the hydrant name and location in an Excel spreadsheet asindicated by the Town. The minimum data collected during the test shall include the following list. The data shall be entered electronically. Approved formats include Access, Excel, or ESRI Survey 123. Other comparable formats may beconsidered at the Town’s discretion.

  • Date of hydrant flow test
  • Location of hydrant being testing (name of street)
  • GPS coordinates
  • Time of day testing was performed
  • Static reading at the residual hydrant
  • Residual reading at the residual hydrant
  • Flow reading at the flow hydrant (using pitot gauge)
  • Water main diameter
  • Hydrant outlet size and type

A representative from the Town will assist the contractor to navigate to the location of each hydrant. Hydrants shall benamed/numbered as approved by the Town.

The allotted time to perform the work is 90 calendar days.

Bids are to be delivered to the Town of Monteagle at 16 Dixie Lee Ave, Monteagle, TN 37356. The Bid must be clearly marked “Bid for Fire Hydrant Testing Project” on the outside of a sealed envelope. The attached Contractor IdentificationForm must be completed and affixed to the sealed envelope.

Bids will be received for a single prime Contract. Bids shall be based on a unit rate per fire hydrant as indicated on the attached bid sheet. No bid may be withdrawn for sixty (60) days from the date of the bid opening. Purchase orders will be issued only upon approval by the Monteagle Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The Issuing Office for the Bidding Documents is the Town of Monteagle; 16 Dixie Lee Ave, Monteagle, TN 37356 ContactJohn Condra, Utility Manager, 931-247-9261.

To demonstrate Bidder’s qualifications to perform the Work, Bidder shall submit with its Bid: written evidence establishing qualifications through similar projects performed with associated project names and current referencecontact information.

The Town of Monteagle reserves the right to reject any or all bids including without limitation nonconforming, nonresponsive, or conditional bids and to waive any irregularities in a bid. The Town will reject the Bid of any Bidder that is found, after reasonable inquiry and evaluation and at the sole discretion of the Town, to not be responsible. In evaluating whether a Bidder is responsible, the Town will consider the qualifications and previous experience of the Bidderand at its sole discretion, may


reject any bid lacking suitable experience. The Town reserves the right to accept any part or all of a bid or to accept that bid (or bids) which in the judgement of the Board of Mayor and Alderman of the Town of Monteagle is in the best interest of the Town. The Town also reserves the right to require a bidder to submit additional evidence of qualifications as may bedeemed necessary.

The Town of Monteagle does not discriminate based on race, color or national origin pursuant to Title VI of the Civil RightsAct of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d).

Owner: Town of Monteagle By: Marilyn Rodman Title: Mayor

Date: December 21, 2021

+ + END OF ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS + +

TDEC ANNOUNCES WATER INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT PLAN WITH FUNDING FROM AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT


NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today released its plan to administer its portion of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) in Tennessee, outlining the department’s approach for improved water infrastructure in communities across the state.

Tennessee receives $3.725 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, designed to help Americans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Bill Lee invited state agencies and stakeholders to submit proposals for consideration in the comprehensive Tennessee Resiliency Plan, developed in response to the ARP. The state’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, established by the governor, has dedicated $1.35 billion of the state’s total to water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects. TDEC is charged with administering the program and has issued its Water Infrastructure Investment Plan to outline the process.

“These funds will help us address critical needs in water infrastructure in communities throughout our state,” Lee said. “We are engaging leaders from counties across Tennessee and want to apply these funds with the most efficient and helpful process as possible.”

“We are eager to provide Tennesseans with quality water service wherever it is needed,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “While this initiative won’t cover all of our needs in this area, it will be a major step forward, and we look forward to the upgrades this program will bring.”

The plan can be found at this link.

TDEC will host a virtual town hall on the plan Dec. 20, where Tennesseans may learn about the process, accessible at this link. Webinars on the plan will be held on Jan. 18, 2022 from noon-1 p.m., on Jan. 19 from 3 p.m.-4 p.m., and Jan. 20 from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. In-person grant workshops will be offered across the state in February and March 2022. Funds from the ARP must be obligated by Dec. 31, 2024 and expended by Dec. 31, 2026.

TDEC officials emphasized that the funding is a limited, one-time event and does not meet the total need for water infrastructure improvements in the state. Reports from the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the TN H2O plan led by TDEC say the necessary investment in Tennessee water infrastructure ranges from $5 billion to $15 billion between now and 2040.

Of the $1.35 billion from the ARP, approximately $1 billion will be offered in the form of non-competitive grants to communities for eligible infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, $269 million of the total will go to state-initiated projects, and the remaining funds will go toward competitive grants.

The Water Infrastructure Investment Plan was developed by TDEC based on input provided by leaders and experts from agencies internal and external to state government. A variety of stakeholders have a vested interest in ensuring strategic use of the funds. The department sought public comment for its draft plan and received approximately 300 comments from approximately 180 individuals or entities. Those comments were seriously considered in development of the plan.

Several entities within state government currently have responsibilities in statute and rule relating to water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure, including but not limited to TDEC, the Tennessee Department of Economic Development and the Comptroller of the Treasury.

Given the volume of ARP funding, TDEC has formed an advisory group, the Water Infrastructure Advisory Committee (WIAC), which will identify priorities and projects suited for the funds; promote responsible administration of the funding; and track the progress associated with the projects and activities involved. The WIAC is chaired by TDEC and reports to the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group.

TDEC has posted a page for the WIAC online and will publish relevant materials there.

Community Chest Spotlight: Folks at Home


The 2021-22 Sewanee Community Chest Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the Sewanee Community Chest 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 Folks at Home.

Folks at Home (F@H) began as a grassroots project, sponsored by the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul (formerly Otey Memorial Parish). In 2010, the organization began its first full year of operation. F@H is a local nonprofit organization developed for and dedicated to assisting its members in continuing a dignified and comfortable lifestyle in the community through coordination of services they need during elder years.

In 2020, F@H delivered an astounding total of 1,937 services of which 511 were delivered pro-bono. Continued Sewanee Community Chest support was critical during a time when F@H expanded its services for the good of the whole community, for example, taking over meal delivery to the home-bound when the Sewanee Senior Citizens Center had to close its doors because of COVID.

F@H will receive $5,000 from the Sewanee Community Chest for general operating support in the community aid and quality of life funding areas. F@H provides or coordinates services such as transportation, errands, home-care, home visits, phone check-ins, technology support, pet walking, and the popular durable medical checkout program. In addition to the 95 annual subscribing members, F@H provides pro bono services to non-members in the area. With the help of the Community Chest, F@H can continue to pursue the mission of empowering individuals to live at home with dignity in the community they love.

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, animal care, housing, scholarships, 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 <http://sewaneecivic.org>; for more information or to donate online.

Call for Photos: Sewanee Black History Trail


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At a Memorial Day 2019 archiving event sponsored by the Roberson Project, African Americans with Sewanee roots shared photographs and stories, aided by a huge map to locate sites where they once worshipped, attended school, had swimming pool fun, and gathered to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. The buildings and structures where many of these activities occurred no longer exist. But the memories shared that day sparked the idea for a Sewanee Black History walking trail with signage, photographs, and narratives. Through the efforts of University professor Scott Torreano, his students, and University Bonner Scholars, the St. Mark’s Heritage Trail will soon become a reality.

Why “St. Mark’s” Heritage Trail? From the 1930s until 1968, Sewanee’s African American community worshipped at the St. Mark’s Church. Until the mid-1960’s integration, they attended class and studied at the Kennerly School. They swam at the pool built in the late 1950s to facilitate segregation of the newly constructed Lake O’Donnell. They played ball and held community gatherings at the Belmont Club. The pool has been filled in and the church, school, and Belmont Club, all located in the Oak Street neighborhood, have been torn down. [See Messenger, Jan. 22, 2021, “What’s in a Name?”; June 7, 2019, “Digitization Days”; Feb. 19, 2021, “St. Mark’s: Sewanee’s Forgotten African American Community”].

The student-led Roberson Project initiative to mark and memorialize these and other significant places in Sewanee’s black history with a walking trail began in the fall of 2020. “Professor Scott Torreano and his students were the creative and expert brains who did the preliminary planning study and laid out the first draft of a heritage trail,” said Woody Register, Roberson Project Director. “Without their contributions, this project would still be just an idea.” University Bonner Scholars seized on the funding opportunity provided by the newly created Bonner Racial Justice Community Fund, said Andrew Maginn, Roberson Project researcher and program coordinator. The students received a grant and the trail idea blossomed.

Trail markers at the memorialized sites will feature photographs, narratives, and QR Codes people can scan with their phones for more information. In addition to the above mentioned sites, plans call for markers for Willie “Six” Field and Sewanee’s African American cemetery, Maginn said. But the project needs the community’s help finding photos. So far, no photos whatsoever have been found of the Belmont Club, the hub of Sewanee African American community life, and photos of other sites are often of poor quality. Commenting on the lack of photos, Maginn observed, “It was expensive to have a camera and get pictures developed.” People with photos to share should phone (931) 598-1685 or email <robersonproject@sewanee.edu>. Roberson Project volunteers can scan photos at people’s homes to alleviate worries of loss or damage to precious photo memories.

In addition to the Bonner Fund, Register stressed the Council of Independent College’s NetVUE program provided “indispensable financial support” helping the Roberson Project to “reframe the stories told about our college community by incorporating the lives and experiences of Sewanee’s Black residents.”

Plans call for unveiling the St. Mark’s Heritage Trail with a walk-through in February during Black History Month. Take time over the next few weeks to search those shoeboxes and memory drawers for photos and help Sewanee’s Black History Trail shine the bright light of a rich and vibrant past.

The Mountain Goat Trail Needs You!


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Upon completion, the historic Mountain Goat Trail will stretch 40 miles from Cowan to Palmer following the path of the railroad line constructed to carry coal off the mountain. A nonprofit effort from the beginning, the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance picked up the mission initially taken on by Ian Prunty as an Earth Day project while a student at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, to turn a bramble and deadfall choked railbed into an 8 foot wide, paved, multi-modal path for walkers, joggers, and nonmotorized wheeled conveyance from bicycles to baby carriages. [See Messenger, Jan. 28, 2011]. With 10 miles now completed, an anonymous donor has stepped up to help get the remaining 30 miles shovel-ready for pavement, pledging $150,000 of the $300,000 needed if smaller donors will match the gift with another $150,000.

What is shovel-ready and why does it matter? “A lot of the grants we apply for don’t pay for preliminary things,” said MGTA Executive Director Patrick Dean. “They [grantors like TDEC and TDOT] want you to arrive with the property in hand. They want to know exactly what the property boundaries are. They don’t fund preliminary engineering drawings and plans for how the trail is to be built. Right of way and other legal work needs to be done…getting title to the property or an easement for the property and having surveys done so boundaries are explicit.”

Dean pointed to two partially shovel-ready sections. On the Cowan side, the University has done preliminary grading work on a three-mile section from Sherwood Road to the Hawkins Cove State Natural Area involving three private landowners, all “willing” according to Dean, although several legal documents still needs to be executed. The other partially shovel ready section is at the other end of the route. A few years ago, the MGTA brokered the sale of the railbed from CSX Railroad to Grundy County to extend the trail from where it now ends in Tracy City to its final destination in Palmer. With survey and title work beginning on the 17-mile section, the MGTA recently assisted Tracy City in applying for a grant to pave the first mile and half of the last leg.

The goal of making the entire uncompleted 30 miles of trail shovel ready for pavement is within reach. All that is needed is for trail lovers and trail project supporters to step forward and make a donation so the MGTA can take advantage of the generous $150,000 matching donation offer. To contribute, visit <https://www.mountaingoattrail....;. Or send a check marked #Shovel Ready to MGTA, P.O. Box 968, Monteagle, TN 37356.

What else can Mountain Goat Trail supporters do to help? “Enjoy the trail, tell your friends and family about it, and get people out there using the trail,” Dean said. MGTA’s three trail-use counters log trail traffic. “When we apply for grants, it’s very helpful to be able to say, ‘We had 2,000 users a month.’” Better still, do both: use the trail and make a donation. Both gifts will keep on giving.

Five Candidates Seek Election to SUD Board


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Dec. 13 meeting, the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners approved a slate of five candidates for the two open seats on the board: Brandi Henley, Johnny Hughes, Donnie McBee, John Moos, and commissioner Paul Evans, who will seek reelection. The two open seats will be awarded to the two candidates who receive the most votes. SUD customers may vote during regular business hours from Jan. 3 to Jan. 25, the date of the next meeting when votes will be counted. Information about the candidates will appear on the Messenger’s website, and then in the print edition after the break.

Updating the board on finances, SUD manager Ben Beavers said year-to-date total revenue was slightly above budget due to water tap sales and expenses were 5 percent under budget. Beavers expects SUD to finish the year with “a positive net position in the $10,000-$30,000 range.”

Reporting on operations, Beavers said lightning strikes caused two major leaks resulting in a 90,000 gallon water loss. SUD shut off the water until the leaks were located and some customers were without water for a short time. “One leak we didn’t find until the next morning,” Beavers said. “It was pouring down rain…Four customers were without water overnight. We gave up at 1:30 a.m. and were back at it at 7 a.m.” Beavers praised the SUD crew. “The guys did a great job.” The chlorine odor finally enabled SUD to locate the leak location.

Franklin County Schools: Spending Decisions


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the December 13 meeting, the Franklin County School Board approved increasing Extended School Program (ESP) employees’ wages by $2 per hour, and after long debate, nonunanimously approved ESSER 3 spending for a $4.4 million Wellness Center. In other business, the board agreed to an MOU with “iteach” to foster teacher recruitment and reviewed a plan for increasing teacher retention.

Justifying the need for a wage increase for ESP employees, ESP Coordinator Kim Nuckolls said staffing shortages had forced her to close ESP locations. All the neighboring school districts paid ESP employees more than Franklin County where the staff earned just $10 per hour and site directors earned only slightly more, Nuckolls stressed. Area fast food restaurant employees earned $12-$13 per hour. The self-supporting ESP used less than 40 percent of its budget in the past two years, Nuckolls noted. “The money is there” to pay for the raise.

Appealing to the board to approve the federal Elementary and Secondary School Extended Relief (ESSER) 3 spending plan, Director of Schools Stanley Bean said the state had approved the application and required board approval to release funds. Board member Sarah Marhevsky questioned “how well the plan meshes” with the school system’s commitment to address teacher retention and recruitment. Board member Sara Liechty said, “Big question marks” surrounded the proposed $4.4 million multi-purpose facility. “There’s a lot of discontent … I’ve had a good many people contact me and say they are not at all in favor of this and not one contact me and say, ‘Yeah, that’s a great idea.’” The people Liechty’s heard from wanted to know why, where, how the facility would be staffed, future plans for maintenance, and when and how it would be available to the community.

Bean said the facility proposed for the Franklin County High School (FCHS) campus would offer a location for elementary basketball games, special education activities, cheerleading, wrestling, physical therapy, teacher in-service, science fairs, STEM fairs, and art exhibits. In addition to an indoor turf area the size of one-third a football field, the facility might also include a walking path if funds allowed. Bean said currently six or seven student groups often struggled to share gymnasium space. The facility would be available to all county schools and would provide an opportunity for sports teams to raise money with tournaments. Maintenance would fall to FCHS and perhaps scheduling, as well.

Liechty cited ever-increasing material costs and asked what would happen if the cost exceeded the budget. “There could be a need to downsize,” Bean acknowledged and said the turf area would be downsized first.

Liechty suggested a public information campaign and community meetings before the board voted. “The community does not have enough knowledge,” she said. According to Federal Projects Supervisor Jenny Crabtree, the two surveys conducted showed 76 percent of 129 respondents and 55 percent of 27 respondents approved of the proposed facility.

Explaining the urgency of voting that evening, County Finance Director Andrea Smith said the federal government had set a Dec. 31 deadline for ESSER 3 spending decisions.

Bean recommended approving the plan and making amendments as needed going forward. He insisted the directors immediately preceding him “cared nothing about sports.” While the plan also contained funding for school capital improvements ($180,000) and technology ($1.24 million), Bean argued, “spending $6 million on capital improvements and technology would be a huge waste.”

Board member Linda Jones pointed out ESSER funds could not be used for teacher salary increases.

The board approved the ESSER 3 plan, with Liechty and Marhevsky abstaining.

In discussion about the MOU with “iteach,” Board Chair CleiJo Walker noted the cost of the program fell entirely to the applicant. The “iteach” program provides a pathway for community members with four-year degrees to teach while pursuing certification.

Following up on the recent workshop discussion about teachers’ reasons for wanting to leave the profession, Bean identified five areas needing addressed and said he would create committees to devise action plans targeting the issues. The committees will consist of administrators, teachers, parents and community members. Bean will ask the committees to report to the board in February.

Monteagle: Fire Chief, Codes Enforcement, Zoning


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Dec. 13 meeting, the Monteagle Council approved a $45,000 budget amendment to provide the salary and benefits for an individual serving in dual roles as fire chief and codes enforcement officer. The council also approved four zoning ordinance amendments recommended by the planning commission.

Alderman Nate Wilson asked where the $45,000 allocation for wages and benefits would come from. Advisor Greg Maloof explained the city expected to receive $14,000 in fire claims. Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman added the city anticipated collecting $14,000 from businesses for unpaid signage and permit fees. “[The position] will pay for itself,” Rodman said. Maloof pointed out the city’s fiscal year started in July, meaning a new budget, and only half the $45,000 would be needed up to that time.

Reviewing the provisions of zoning ordinance amendment 21-23, Rodman said the change would expand land use in R-3 residential zoning to allow single family homes. Currently only duplexes and condos are permitted.

The council approved three requests to rezone property from commercial to residential to allow for homes on the sites. Rodman noted in all three instances adjoining properties were zoned residential.

The council tabled a zoning ordinance amendment recommended by the planning commission which provided for increasing the allowed height of hotels and motels to accommodate three stories, rather than just two. The council raised questions about the clause related to fire protection and will seek advice from building inspector Earle Geary. Wilson commented, “We talked a lot about what we want to see as a common vision for Monteagle going forward, and things like taller buildings may or may not fit into that plan … We want to preserve the small town character of Monteagle.”

Reporting on Parks and Recreation, Jessica Favaloro announced a 5 p.m., Monday, Jan. 10, meeting at city hall to discuss the baseball program. Renewing baseball field banners costs $150. A new banner costs $200.

Resident Jim Waller brought to the council’s attention automatic-weapon gunfire in the North Bluff Circle area. When Waller notified the police, the police consulted with the person firing the gun, and the individual agreed to cease. Waller said the gun fire had occurred again. Police will investigate. Rodman said a city ordinance prohibited firing a gun within the city limits.

Coyotes in Sewanee

For many, our first interaction with a coyote (Canis latrans) was Mr. Wile E. Coyote, the devious and hapless arch villain of the Looney Tunes roadrunner. Though never quite successful, his actions earned him a spot on TV Guide's list of Nastiest Villains of All Time in 2013.

Lately many in Sewanee have interacted with or seen real live Canis latrans, a relative wildlife newcomer to the plateau. While sharing few characteristics with its animated cousin, it seems to be at risk of gaining an unearned spot on Sewanee’s villain list. The purpose of this article is to provide background on coyote ecology, hopefully assuage some community fears about the animals, and provide helpful tools for residents to minimize unwanted interactions with these fascinating animals.

Coyotes are known as opportunistic omnivores, they hunt prey (primarily mice, chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels) and will eat just about anything they can find including small mammals, fruits, nuts, and insects. During the summer, grasshoppers and beetles can make up the majority of their diet. In urban and suburban areas, they have learned to exploit the resources left out by humans, eating pet food, household garbage, birdseed, and ornamental fruits. In one study urban coyotes were found to have derived 60-75%  percent of their diets from human sources.

Socially, coyotes live in family groups that are controlled by an alpha male and female. In most instances, only the alpha pair are breeding while other members of the group assist with pup rearing and food gathering. Coyotes are thought to be unique among mammals in that they can also alter their litter size based on their population size and social structure. A stable family group may only net 3 to 5 new pups a year, whereas a hunted family group will allow additional females in the group to breed, and individual litter sizes of each female can double. For this reason, hunting and removal of coyotes is often counterproductive. Removing a few individuals will often cause the population to grow faster.

So, what about children and pets?

Coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare. According to the Humane Society of the United States, more humans are killed by flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes. Negative human-coyote interactions are always the result of animals that have become habituated to humans through feeding. Coyotes simply do not see humans as prey. The same can be said for pets, and though coyotes have learned to take an occasional cat or very small dog, it only happens when pets are left unattended and urban coyotes learn to hunt them.

So why are we seeing coyotes around Sewanee?

This time of year young male coyotes are dispersing from their family units to establish new territories. That may explain why there have been so many sightings lately in Sewanee. In order to keep these animals from becoming habituated to humans, it's important that community members take active steps to keep coyotes wild. These steps include:

  • Never feed coyotes intentionally.
  • Never leave pet food outside unattended.
  • Take steps to secure compost bins so that animals cannot access them.
  • Keep trash secured. Trash attracts coyotes and their prey.
  • Do not leave cats or small dogs outdoors unattended.

The Looney Tunes roadrunner was known to antagonize Wile E.Coyote and encourage him to put himself in unfortunate positions. We don’t have to follow the roadrunner’s lead. If we can avoid habituating them to humans, coyotes can play a positive role in controlling rodents in our community and simply be another wild animal that we are fortunate to observe from a distance.

If you are interested in more information on coyote biology, the Humane Society has published a Coyote Management and Coexistence Plan. If you live on the Domain and have specific concerns related to a coyote near your leasehold, please email domain@sewanee.edu to discuss options. If you live off the Domain, the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Division may be able to offer assistance.

TDEC LAUNCHES PUBLIC ONLINE HUB FOR WATER RESOURCE DATA


NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has unveiled an Open Data Hub, an online mapping platform to provide public access to detailed information about TDEC’s ongoing work to protect and improve water quality throughout the state.

The site is designed to inform interested parties about activity managed by TDEC’s Division of Water Resources (DWR), including data on items such as permits, water wells, water quality monitoring and watershed management. The geographic information system (GIS) platform includes data sets, mapping applications and story maps. The platform will especially inform stakeholders who interact with TDEC directly.

“This is an excellent tool for our stakeholders as well as the general public,” Greg Young, deputy commissioner of TDEC, said. “We want all Tennesseans to view us as a resource for their needs, not just a regulator, and the hub gives everyone easy access to vital information. It’s a detailed look at all facets of our work in water resources and demonstrates our commitment to providing the best possible service to Tennesseans.”

The hub may be found at this link.

TDEC developed the hub using software that became available in recent years. The goal is to provide an authoritative source of data allowing Tennesseans to evaluate spatial patterns and geographical relationships in the environment.

The hub uses data layers and mapping applications to provide information to individuals and groups such as residential landowners, environmental consulting firms, non-government/nonprofit organizations and universities. Residential landowners are often interested in the information, especially water well data, water quality data and water permit data, for the areas where they live. The data and mapping applications are updated by TDEC on a continuing basis.

Users may view maps, for example, regarding water resources permits, with over 27,000 records, including details of a permitted site, precise location of the site, name of the permittee and the permit’s expiration date. The site also allows the viewer to make more customized maps. The applications have been developed to fit inquiries TDEC generally receives from the public.

The launch of the Open Data Hub follows Smart Parks, a similar GIS hub by TDEC, mapping detailed information about Tennessee State Parks. That hub may befound at this link.

Both platforms are built with the web-based mapping software ArcGIS Online.

Community Chest Spotlight: Reach Out and Read


The 2021-22 Sewanee Community Chest Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the Sewanee Community Chest 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 Reach Out and Read.

Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read together. Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine is one of more than 6,100 medical offices across the country that delivers ROR’s program.

Starting at the 6-month well-child checkup and continuing at each checkup through age five, Drs. Mary Heath and Amy Evans, and Eric Bornemann, PNP, give children a new book to take home and keep. At the same time, these providers speak with caregivers about the importance of making shared reading part of a daily family routine.

ROR is sometimes confused with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, as the two organizations have similar missions. Unlike Imagination Library, ROR collaborates with medical providers to offer both books and early literacy guidance during checkups, leveraging the doctor-caregiver relationship to “prescribe” reading aloud. As part of the ROR site enrollment process, providers at Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine took an accredited online course in early literacy promotion. ROR also lets families choose between several books at each checkup, ensuring that children are matched with books that they do not already have at home. While participating in ROR, Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine also encourages families to register for Imagination Library—the more books a child has at home, the better.

ROR is requesting a grant of $2,541 to help with project-based support for the children funding area. Per-book cost is approximately $2.75. The Sewanee Community Chest’s grant would enable the purchase of about 924 books. ROR partners with Scholastic, Inc., and other publishers to offer popular book titles, such as “Goodnight Moon” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” at deeply discounted prices.

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, animal care, housing, scholarships, 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 <http://sewaneecivic.org>; for more information.

Monteagle Planning: Recommends Rezoning; Defines Tiny Homes


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Dec. 7 meeting, the Monteagle Planning Commission recommended the Monteagle Council approve three zoning changes to allow for residential construction. Following up on a request for information in October, building inspector Earle Geary provided a definition of “tiny homes.”

Sondra Bridges requested rezoning from C-2 commercial to R-1 residential three lots she purchased as Gun Estates Subdivision, one with a home already on it. Commenting on the location Geary said, “I can’t understand why any lot either side of DuBose Street would be commercial.” Town planner Annya Shalun with Southeast Tennessee Development said spot rezoning was not an issue since adjacent properties were R-1.

The council also recommended rezoning to allow residences on two properties in the vicinity of the Convenience Center. Phyllis Dills purchased five acres believing it to be zoned residential based on Marion County tax maps. Dills subsequently learned the property fell within the Monteagle City Limits and was zoned C-2. “You need to go buy local jurisdiction,” Geary said. Shalun recommended rezoning to R-3 to conform with zoning of adjacent properties and avoid spot rezoning. Approval by the commission hinged on the council moving forward with a proposed zoning ordinance amendment allowing single family dwellings on R-3 property.

Joshua Kerns, who owns a property neighboring Dills, also requested rezoning from C-2 to residential. Two years ago, Kerns erected a home on the site. A question arose regarding the zoning at the time, although no answer was forthcoming. The commission, nonetheless, recommended rezoning to R-3, as in the case of the Dills property, predicated upon approval by the council of the ordinance amendment allowing single family dwellings in R-3.

Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman noted all rezoning requests must follow “the process” defined by town ordinance, which includes two readings by the council, a public hearing, and signage posted on the property proposed for rezoning.

In the discussion about tiny homes, Geary said his research revealed 400 square feet was the agreed upon minimum size. “It [the small size] scares me a little,” Geary acknowledged. Building Codes governing construction in Monteagle dictated regulations on ventilation, lighting, heat, ceiling heights, bathroom size and other parameters, Geary said. “It will take more than 400 square feet to meet those qualifications,” he speculated.

SETD town planner Garret Haynes pointed out by current Monteagle ordinances anything below 600 square feet qualified as a tiny home. Haynes will check to determine if the 400 square foot minimum is compatible with current ordinance stipulations.

Franklin County Schools: Why Teachers Are Leaving


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At a Dec. 6 workshop to address the teacher shortage, the Franklin County School Board heard from teachers representing the Franklin County Education Association who revealed FCEA survey results indicated teachers’ low morale resulted from issues ranging from feeling unsupported by the board and community, to students’ loss of social skills trailing upon pandemic distance learning, to needing to find their own substitute teacher when illness prevented them from being in the classroom. The board also learned about the “iteach” program offering a possible solution to teacher recruitment.

North Middle School history teacher Dwayne Thames cited several changes teachers wanted to see. Thames acknowledged abolishing state testing was “out of the boards purview,” but he insisted not grading teachers on student test scores was a practice that could be adopted. Teachers also wanted more resources for students reading below grade level and more guidance counselors and school social workers to deal with mental health and behavioral issues. “We went from two to none [social workers],” Thames said. “You put it on us as teachers to deal with and it’s not our area of expertise. It’s beyond our ability to help. We need you to help us.”

Chiming in on the problem of student apathy and students who fail to graduate, Campora Family Resource Center Director Eric Vanzant said, “We need to sit down with these kids and find out what’s going on.”

Vanzant also commented on teachers’ lack of enthusiasm and unwillingness to speak out about problems, “They feel like it doesn’t matter what they say … you aren’t going to listen.” One teacher told Vanzant he saw no point in filling out another survey, as past surveys never yielded results.

Thames proposed board members visit classrooms and not just at schools in their district, since wide cultural differences existed among the county schools.

Franklin County High School chemistry teacher Lena Clark objected to the perception teachers joined the profession to get two months off during the summer. “Teachers feel called and want to make a difference in students’ lives,” Clark said. Regarding inadequate teacher salaries, Clark maintained, “If the community perception is changed about our district and schools, if we change the way people see us, they may become more supportive of us” and willing to support a property tax increase to fund teacher salary increases. “Can we work together to change the perception?” Thames challenged the board.

Thames praised the board for providing “things like technology…providing stuff,” but he pointed out giving students an assignment using their laptops was pointless if they didn’t have internet access. The board “needs to advocate to the community and county commission for the children’s needs.”

Director of School Stanley Bean identified the areas that needed to be addressed based on teachers’ input: support, apathy, and morale; getting students up to reading level; social and mental health; pay; and community perception. The board discussed holding a January workshop to develop an action plan. A possible technology fix to the substitute problem would auto dial substitutes when a teacher phoned in sick.

The “iteach” program outlined by company spokesperson Alice Rolli provides a pathway for community members with four-year degrees to teach while pursuing certification. Once the enrollee passes the praxis examine demonstrating subject matter knowledge and takes the first two of seven online education courses, “iteach” grants them a “job embedded” teaching license so they can teach while they finish course work. Once the enrollee receives a job, they begin paying back the $4,050 program fee, interest free. The school system bears no cost, unless they offer to pay part of an enrollee’s expenses in return for staying with the school system for a set number of years.

Material Shortage Delays Food Bank Construction


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

In October 2020, Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady received word of grant funding for a new Grundy County Food Bank building. He expected construction to begin as soon as the contracts were signed, but that did not happen. “The holdup is the same holdup for America,” Brady said, “a material shortage.”

“Fortunately, we were able to order a metal building kit with only an eight-month delivery delay,” Brady said. He cited a two-year wait on some orders. “I know people who’ve been told, ‘I don’t care how much money you’ve got, you’re not getting it.’” Brady anticipates late February or early March delivery. “The pad is ready for concrete. Once we get confirmation on a delivery date, we can do the slab work.”

“This is an Eminent Threat Grant project,” Brady said. “It’s got to go.”

Food Bank Director Tim Glover concurs. The Chattanooga Area Food Bank oversees and monitors the Grundy County Food Bank. At a recent inspection, the Grundy County Food Bank received “a huge thumbs up on everything except the building,” Glover said. The food bank currently operates rent-free in a vacated Tracy City grocery store. Buckets catch water from the leaking roof. “There’s pressure to get the new building done,” Glover insisted. “There’s high potential for pests, mice, and rain destroying product.”

Food bank clients decreased during the pandemic, according to Glover. He speculated people receiving stimulus checks, fear of getting COVID if they ventured out, and the switch to curbside pickup caused the decrease in clients. Normally, clients receive an allotment in each food category (e.g., meat, bread, dairy) and select products just as they would at a grocery store. In a survey, 70 percent of clients preferred coming into the building and “shopping.”

Glover said the number of clients has increased recently with federal supplements gone. He expects the demand for grocery life-support to increase even more over the holidays. Typically, the food bank serves an average of 250 families a month.

Fully aware of the need, Mayor Brady said, “The funding for the new building is in place. I expect completion in two to three months once the building kit is delivered.”

Mountain Music: Unveiling the Jewel


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Betty Carpenter’s many years as a Grundy County Schools educator gifted her with a glimpse at a rare jewel: the “extraordinary” music made on front porches and the lawns of community centers and churches. “It’s so common place to them, they don’t see the jewel of what they have,” Carpenter said. Her dream to share the gift she received found a nest in the documentary “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” a work-in-progress that hopes to celebrate the music-makers, their generosity and their joy.

Carpenter first became aware of Plateau mountain music as a Tracy City Elementary Pre-K teacher when she heard one of the moms “belt out” a ballad rich in Scotch-Irish overtones. Later the kitchen cooks sang for her. “I was blown away by the harmony,” she confessed.

Fast forward a few years to Carpenter waiting in the hallway with her special ed class at the high school. The teacher aide started playing the piano and in the children’s enthusiastic response, Carpenter “saw a window.” People referred to these children as “couldn’t do anything kids,” Carpentered said, “but music deals with a different part of the brain.” The Comprehensive Development Class (CDC) formed the Seedy Sea Band and ultimately performed in Nashville at the Bluebird Café and Opryland Hotel. The “can’t do anything kids” became a source of pride for their parents and for Carpenter a “foot in the door” to a world she didn’t know existed.

The band found themselves invited to “singin’s’”—fundraising gatherings at community centers and churches where local singers and musicians performed. The crowd would pass a hat to collect money for a family whose house burned or someone in the hospital with no insurance. The hat-passing sometimes raised thousands of dollars. None of the gifted performers had any formal musical training. Grandfathers had taught grandsons, aunts had taught nieces passing the musical tradition down through the generations. Carpenter came to realize that for these people with few extracurricular activities to engage in, music was as much a part of daily life as raindrops and biscuits for breakfast.

An ordained Episcopal deacon, Carpenter met Episcopal priest Maryetta Anschutz in the summer of 2020. Carpenter learned Anschutz had a media company, told her about the documentary idea, and took her to visit the Music Barn, an off-the-beaten-track music store on the outskirts of Tracy City. Owner, Mary Dykes, and her friends played and sang for Anschutz. Her response: the world has got to hear this music.

In the trailer for the documentary, Stephen Miller, University music department chair, describes Plateau mountain music as a hybrid, “a style while rooted in their Grundy County origins has obviously been inflected by a lot of the African American music styles they’ve heard, a lot of Southern gospel.”

“It makes sense,” Carpenter said, “Each person who passes the tradition down adds something.”

“Music is the language that talks to the soul,” said Ralph Patrick, Grundy County singer and guitarist.

Dykes said when she first opened the Music Barn in May 2002, she worried no one would come. “We didn’t know if people would travel out this far on a country road, but by December my husband was busting out the wall and making it bigger.”

The “Go Tell It on the Mountain” documentary project received a grant from the South Cumberland Community Fund and has applied for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The project needs $20,000 to reach fruition. To help fund the effort send checks to the Grundy Area Arts Council, P.O. Box 363, Monteagle, TN 37356. View the trailer at https://www.tellitonthemountai...

Summing up what the documentary is about, Carpenter said, “It’s the joy. The way music is used to help your neighbor, as a form of praise, and just for pure fun.”

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