Each year the University conducts a community impact survey about Sewanee's white tailed deer population and associated hunting program. The survey is intended to quantify impacts of both the white tailed deer AND the hunting program on the community.
Decades of botanical research yields a clear understanding of the ecological impacts current deer population levels are having on the Domain, but there are also social impacts that are less easy to quantify. The hunting program was started partially in response to an increase in automobile/deer collisions and many complaints of landscape damage on leaseholds. Balancing these perceived negatives, many leaseholders enjoy seeing deer roam intown and are concerned about an active hunting program close to residences.
The annual community survey is an attempt to understand more about the social context of the herd and the hunt. We use the data to focus hunter effort where social impacts of the deer are the greatest and where the social impact of the hunters is minimized. Eight years of data has shown an overall decline in the number of people concerned about the safety of the hunt, and geographically focused successes and failures in ameliorating the social impacts of the herd.
If you have opinions on the herd or the hunt, please take a few moments to fill out the survey here. If you choose to include your address, it will be used to create an impact map used to focus hunting efforts. This survey is the primary tool we use to locate hunter efforts in the community, so whether you are strongly for or against the hunting program, we would like to hear from you.
If you want to learn more about the hunting program, please visit: https://new.sewanee.edu/office...
Joseph’s Remodeling Solutions is proud to be Certified™ by Great Place to Work for 2022. The prestigious award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience working at Joseph’s Remodeling Solutions.
Great Place To Work is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience and the leadership behaviors proven to deliver employee retention and increased innovation. “Great Place to Work Certification™” isn’t something that comes easily — it takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience,” said Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vice president of global recognition at Great Place to Work. “It’s the only official designation determined by employees’ real-time reports of their company culture. Earning this designation means that Joseph’s Remodeling Solutions is one of the best companies to work for in the country.”
“We have worked really hard to nurture our company culture and it’s nice to know our team enjoys the benefits. For us it’s a combination of carefully hiring and providing living wages and great benefits. For years we have had a program of getting weekly feedback from each of our team members and we want everyone to love their work,” said Alyssa Sumpter, co-owner of Joseph’s Remodeling Solutions with her husband Joseph. “We owe our continued success to our team. We celebrate and thank them for all they do each and every day to earn this incredible recognition.”
According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great leader at a Certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93 percent more likely to look forward to coming to work, and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, and have a fair chance at promotion.
Since 1992, Great Place to Work has surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Their employee survey platform empowers leaders with feedback, real-time reporting and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
A June press release announced the August opening of the historic Highlander Folk School Library in Monteagle. Tennessee Preservation Trust (TPT), which spearheaded the restoration project, has applied for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. In an Aug. 16 interview, project director David Currey said plans for opening had changed — “I think I’m going to wait until the National Register nomination is complete. I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be.” The state of Tennessee has approved the nomination and forwarded it to the National Park Service, which gives final approval. Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tenn., has challenged the National Register nomination claiming TPT is an “unfit steward” of the Highlander legacy. Will the Center’s petition to the National Park Service to “Reject the Nomination of the Highlander Folk School Library to the National Register of Historic Places” stymie approval of the TPT application and plans to open the site to visitors? Highlander Center’s legacy and historic relationship to Highlander Folk School has bearing on the question.
For the most part, the TPT and Highlander Center accounts of the school’s history agree. The school opened in the Summerfield community of Monteagle in 1932 to educate the region’s miners and other exploited laborers and help them organize for better wages and working conditions. In its focus on labor struggles, the school held integrated workshops as early as 1944, rare in the South, and in the 1950s took up the cause of civil rights. Citizenship Schools throughout the southeast taught literacy skills needed to vote, while in Monteagle up and coming civil rights leaders learned strategies for non-violent civil disobedience. Rosa Parks spent two weeks at Highlander before refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. A photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. at a workshop led to Highlander being targeted as a communist training school. In 1961, the state revoked the school’s charter and confiscated the property. The very next day, Highlander renamed itself Highlander Research and Education Center and reopened at a new location in Knoxville. Repeated racial harassment throughout the 1960s prompted the Center to relocate to its current headquarters in New Market in 1971.
The Center’s challenge to TPT’s application for inclusion in the National Register argues the Center was never “formally notified” of TPT’s plans to purchase the Highlander Folk School property and seek National Register inclusion, yet TPT used text from the Center’s website for the nomination form; TPT has not involved the Center in planning, fundraising or programming for the historic library site; the TPT nomination form contains historical inaccuracies; and the Center holds exclusive rights to the name “Highlander” and “Harry Lasker Memorial Library” — the alternative name listed for the library on the TPT nomination form and a name still in use at the Center’s New Market location.
Currey said TPT would not have become involved if the organization had not been contacted in 2013 by the Tennessee Parks and Greenway Foundation and concerned citizens. The property’s historic value had been undermined by past owners and the property was again listed for sale. Currey contends the Highlander Center participated in some of the early phone conversations among the parties involved. “In 2013, nobody stepped up to the plate to save this property, and TPT did.”
In response to rumors TPT was dissolving, Currey said the president of the board’s battle with cancer and subsequent death led to a lapse in tax filings, but TPT was in the process of securing reinstatement of its nonprofit status.
The Highlander Center maintains, since 1932, Highlander has “directly-impacted people in our region, knowing that together, we have the solutions to address the challenges we face in our communities and to build more just, equitable, and sustainable systems and structures … TPT is best known for its efforts to preserve Civil War history … wholly disconnected from Highlander’s multiracial and working-class history, as reflected in its board of directors and leadership that is overwhelmingly white.”
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
The Sewanee original film “Unrivaled” recently won Best Local Film at the Cobb International Film Festival in Marietta, Ga.
The film follows the story of the Sewanee Tigers’ legendary 2,500-mile road trip across the southern United States. At the end of the trip, the Tigers would return to the Mountain victorious, having outscored opponents Texas, Texas A & M, LSU, Tulane and Ole Miss 322–10.
Of the 600 films submitted to the Cobb International Film Festival, only 70 were chosen for screening.
Norman Jetmundsen, a member of the film-making crew and University class of 1976, first learned of the story of the 1899 football team when he was a student on the Mountain.
“I think it’s fair to say that [the team] and I had no idea as to what we were really in for when we started this project. The story turned out to be much richer and more complex than we had imagined, and it took a great deal of time to do the research on a team that had played 120 years ago. We grew more excited as the project progressed, and it was truly a labor of love. The result has been worth the effort — we preserved an important part of southern and sports history forever, and the enthusiastic reception by everyone who has seen the film has been quite gratifying,” Jetmundsen said.
Jetmundsen said the film will also be screened at several festivals across the southeastern United States. The film will be screened at 12:50 p.m. at the Cookeville Film Festival on Sat., August 27 in Cookeville, Tenn.; the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7:40 p.m.; and the Knoxville Film Festival at noon on Friday, Sept. 17. The film will also be screened at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook, Ala., at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11.
“We have submitted to several other festivals as well, and Alabama Public Television is sponsoring us into a national public network called NETA. We are hopeful that it will open us to stations across the entire country,” Jetmundsen said.
For more information about the film, visit <https://sewanee1899.org>;.
South Cumberland Community Fund invites the public to contribute to the Special Places Project celebrating the special places on the Cumberland Plateau by attending a community conversation on Aug. 30 at Roundhouse Park in Tracy City. The 2022 project will be the creation of a mural, designed by artist Andee Rudloff, and co-created with people on the Plateau.
From Aug. 29-31, Rudloff will be in the area visiting schools and conducting listening sessions on the topic, “What Makes the Plateau Special.” In addition to working with students at several area schools, Rudloff will meet with the combined Rotary clubs of Grundy County and Monteagle-Sewanee at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30. On that same day at 6 p.m., she will hold a listening session for the general public in Old Roundhouse Park in Tracy City, which is where the mural will be installed. That event is co-hosted with the South Cumberland Tourism Board. The rain location is Grundy Heritage Center.
From Sept. 22–24, Rudloff will be back on the Plateau to paint the mural, with the help of many hands. Everyone is invited to be part of the mural painting, with the schedule to be announced in September. The board and staff of SCCF invite all who live on the Plateau to be a part of the special project for a special place.
On Oct. 22, the mural is to be unveiled at the Round the Mountain Fest.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Aug.16 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners, SUD Manager Ben Beavers reported on SUD’s final cost for the U.S. Highway 41A project, prompting a discussion about requesting reimbursement from the University. The board revisited SUD’s request for American Recovery Plan (ARP) funds from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
In conjunction with narrowing Highway 41A to accommodate University plans for the downtown, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) required SUD to put money in escrow to cover water and sewer line relocation costs. TDOT has billed SUD for $209,000, Beavers said, and SUD’s out-of-pocket expenses for engineering and inspection will bring the total to a quarter million.
In a 2020 verbal agreement negotiated by Beavers and SUD Board President Charlie Smith with University Treasurer Doug Williams and Frank Gladu, who at the time oversaw downtown planning, the University committed to help SUD pay for relocating the water and sewer lines.
“We’re hoping to get 80 percent [of the cost reimbursed]?” asked commissioner Donnie McBee. “We are,” Beavers said. Beavers suggested a letter from Smith to University Treasurer Williams reminding him of the commitment. The board will collaborate on the letter.
In a recent conversation with a Southeast Tennessee Development District lawyer, Beavers confirmed separate pools of TDEC administered ARP grant money were available to counties and cities. Beavers also learned the money could not be used for maintenance items. SUD has already purchased all the items on its ARP grant list, except for replacing water plant membrane filters, a maintenance item. SUD will work with the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts to modify its application and request replacing 10,000 feet of water line with cast iron fittings, which by law SUD must undertake in the next few years. Beavers estimated the cost at $500,000-$700,000. “I’ll ask for replacement of all the line, but we may need to settle for investigation and design costs … I don’t expect we’ll get any less than $200,000-$300,000.” Of the $3.2 million available to Franklin County, the county has already committed $1.2 million.
SUD accountant Don Mills presented the 2021 audit. The audit contained no negative findings. “You made a nice rebound,” Mills said. “In 2020 you lost money. You can’t do that two years in a row or the utility review board will get on us.” In 2021 SUD reported a net positive change of almost $78,000. Beavers commented the difference was due almost entirely to lost revenue in 2020 because of the pandemic and students not being on campus.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee voters can cast a ballot for or against four proposed amendments to the Tennessee constitution on the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election ballot.
“Tennessee voters need to be aware of the proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Voters can view the exact ballot language on our website in order to be prepared to make informed voting decisions.”
On the ballot, voters will see the candidates for governor, followed by the four proposed amendments, the United States House of Representatives and the county’s remaining offices on the general election ballot.
Proposed Constitutional amendments are presented as yes or no questions. A yes vote is a vote to amend the Constitution and adopt the proposed language in the amendment. A no vote is a vote not to amend the Constitution and keep the current language in the Constitution unchanged.
Two things must happen for an amendment to pass and become part of the Constitution. The first is the amendment must get more yes votes than no votes. The second is that the number of yes votes must be a majority of the total votes in the gubernatorial election. This longstanding process Tennessee uses to determine the result for proposed Constitutional amendments was confirmed by a court decision following the 2014 general election.
To determine the number of votes needed to adopt a proposed Constitutional amendment, votes for all candidates for governor are added together and then divided by two. If there are more yes votes than no votes on the proposed amendment and the number of yes votes exceeds 50% +1 of the total votes for governor, the amendment passes and becomes part of the Constitution. The Constitutional amendment fails if the number of yes votes does not meet or exceed the threshold, or if there are more no votes than yes votes.
The four proposed amendments were approved to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot by the 111th and 112th General Assemblies.
The four proposed amendments to the Tennessee Constitution on the Nov. 8 ballot:
An amendment to Article XI, of the Constitution of Tennessee, relative to the right to work
An amendment to Article II and Article III of the Constitution of Tennessee, relative to the exercise of the powers and duties of the Governor during disability.
An amendment to Article I, Section 33 of the Constitution of Tennessee, to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude.
An amendment to Article IX, of the Constitution of Tennessee, relative to disqualifications.
To see the exact language that will appear on the ballot, which will include a summary of each amendment written by the Tennessee Attorney General’s office, visit sos.tn.gov/amendments.
For the latest information about the Nov. 8 State and Federal General Election, follow the Secretary of State’s social media channels Twitter: @SecTreHargett, Facebook: Tennessee Secretary of State and Instagram: @tnsecofstate.
For more information about the proposed Constitutional amendments, visit sos.tn.gov/amendments or call the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Three years ago, operating on a wish, prayer, and a dream, Susan Johnson rallied volunteers to host lemonade stands and talked to anyone who would listen about the need for a safe, welcoming place for children awaiting foster care placement. Grundy County has no Department of Children’s Services office. Children removed from the home often waited for a foster care placement in the judge’s chambers or county jail. Johnson’s plan was to establish an Isaiah 117 House Coffee-Franklin-Grundy based on the national model, providing a transition place where children could receive food, comfort, and love.
Johnson’s prayers were answered, and her dream has come true in a grander fashion than she ever imagined. She hoped to raise enough money to buy or to receive a donation of a three-quarters acre of land, with or without a house. Christ Church in Monteagle donated 3 acres of land at the rear of their property on West Main. Thanks to their generosity and that of a multitude of other donors and volunteers, on Aug. 10, a beautiful home snuggled against the tree line opened its doors to welcome children in need.
Isaiah 117 House is staffed primarily by volunteers, with just two paid employees, Johnson who serves as program coordinator and an on-call assistant. Volunteers sign up to be on-call for six-hour shifts. When the Department of Children’s Services contacts Johnson, two volunteers join her at the house to welcome the DCS staff member and the children awaiting foster placement. The DSC staffer remains with the children the entire time supervising their care. “The volunteers are there to lend an extra hand and love on the kids,” Johnson said.
Children can wait for hours or days before foster placement is found for them. Isaiah 117 House Coffee-Franklin-Grundy has a bedroom for both boys and girls, each with two twin beds with trundles beneath them, a playroom, and an outdoor playground with slides and swings.
Johnson highlighted the generosity of three area furniture stores. Halls Furniture furnished the bedrooms, back porch and office. Factory Furniture furnished the front porch, living room, playroom, and visitors space, and Badcock Furniture provided appliances, a TV, weed eater, and mower. Generous contributions from churches and private donors, both in the form of cash and elbow grease, raised the roof on the house. With the doors officially open, Johnson intends to apply for grants to help with costs. Isaiah 117 House also sends children on their way with supplies to help out the foster families who take in the children.
Asked about security, Johnson said the house is equipped with an alarm system, three panic buttons, and cameras, and police regularly patrol the site. She stressed there had not been security breach issues at any of the other Isaiah 117 House locations.
“We’re so glad to be open and serving,” Johnson said.
How can people help? “We always need volunteers,” she acknowledged, adding, “I ask people to set an alarm for 1:17 p.m. each day and pray for the children, caseworkers, and foster families.”
To make a cash donation contact Johnson by phone (931) 570-2002, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or visit the website <https://isaiah117house.com>;, being sure to select “Coffee/Franklin/Grundy County” in the dropdown menu.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Aug. 8 meeting, the Franklin County School Board decided to return the rejected 2022-2023 budget to the Franklin County Commission unchanged. The commission voted down the budget at a special called meeting Aug. 1.
“If the school budget goes to the full county commission and they send it back, the school board has 10 days to send it back to the county commission,” explained County Finance Director Andrea Smith. “If the county commission turns it down again, if it can’t be worked out by Aug. 31, it will go to the state. We’re [currently] operating off the prior year’s budget. If it goes past Aug. 31, we have to get approval from the comptroller.”
Although rejecting the school budget, the county commission amended the county budget to include pay raises for school employees, as reported by the Herald Chronicle, Aug. 1, 2022.
Reviewing the pay raises called for in the school budget, Human Resources Supervisor Linda Foster stressed the need to be “competitive” with neighboring counties. Certified employees with a bachelor’s degree will receive a $600 salary increase, while those with higher degrees will receive a $500 annual increase. Previously, years-of-service wage increases stopped at 20 years, but the 2022-2023 budget calls for wage increases through the 22nd year. All classified employees will receive at least a 2 percent wage increase. Contract bus drivers will receive a $10,000 per route increase.
Commenting on the budget, Director of Schools Stanley Bean said, “It’s a solid budget. We’ve got the biggest fund balance we’ve had in years. We did not ask the county for any new money.”
Reporting on personnel at the start of the school year, Foster said, “We have teachers in all classrooms.” Eight teachers have bachelor’s degrees, but no certification, so will require a permit from the state. Some of these teachers have lapsed certification and others are pursuing certification. Last school year, only one teacher needed a non-certified permit.
Bean recognized two departing school board members. District 1 representative Christine Hopkins will step down after 12 years of service. Sandy Shultz was elected to fill the vacancy in the recent election cycle. District 4 school board member Chris Guess, who has served since 2008, will step down to serve as county mayor. The county commission will appoint a representative to finish out Guess’ term.
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Rachel Petropoulos began her work with the Sewanee Community Center in 2007, just five years after its doors opened. She described her work as a combination of bookkeeping, keeping all the spaces scheduled and making sure the building was stocked for the various groups that came through the door. Over the years, however, it became more than just maintaining a building.
Petropoulos, who relocated to her native Ohio at the start of the summer, said she always enjoyed being a part of offering space to anyone who needed it.
“While the amenities may be limited, the space is light-filled, walkable to downtown and the elementary school, with room to explore a variety of activities. And that is what people have done. Many people have tried out a new idea, whether that be a meeting, class, a music session, and if a community formed around the idea, it grew. Some classes have been meeting for decades now,” Petropoulos said.
President of the board, Trae Moore, described the center as a space where the entire community — both the University community and the greater Mountain community — could come together and share in daily life together. And Moore said because Petropoulos was such a big part of that community-building effort, filling her role won’t be easy.
“Rachel loved the center and put a lot of time and thought into making sure everything ran efficiently and that people who use the center had a good experience. Rachel will be greatly missed, as she ran the center so effectively and with so much love,” Moore said.
As for her hopes for the future, Petropoulos said she doesn’t see the work of the center stopping anytime soon.
“The center has always been more than the building. It has been the people and activities and relationships that form from the community coming together. This is what makes a town strong,” she said.
During the month of August, Arts Inside is displaying work by Whitney Alexander, Brittany Shelton, Randa Clay, Sarandon Johnson and other artists at Stirling’s Coffee House. The work seen in the show was made over several months as the artists completed a variety of classes at the Grundy County Jail with instructors Pippa Browne, Morgan Hornsby, and Cheryl Lankhaar. There will be a reception at Stirling’s from 2–3 p.m., Tuesday, August 16.
Arts Inside is a community-based, grassroots organization that provides art and education programs for incarcerated people and their families in rural middle Tennessee.
Sewanee has been a well-kept secret for biking of all kinds, but is starting to grow a large community of people of all ages with diverse biking interests, types of riding, and skill levels. From mountain biking on trails, road riding, paved trails, to everything in between, there is an option to interest any type of biker. There are many fun and engaging ways to become involved in biking in Sewanee.
For girls and women, two groups support skill development and empowering trail rides for ages seven and up. Little Bellas <www.littlebellas.com>, a national organization with a local presence in Sewanee, provides a fun skill- and confidence-building half-day camp for girls ages 7-11 during the early part of June. Sewanee GoGirls MTB is a local group dedicated to getting more girls and women riding bikes on trails with twice-monthly rides and skills-based learning opportunities. Sewanee GoGirls MTB rides are regularly scheduled on the first and third Sundays of every month, starting at 3 p.m. from the Lake Cheston parking lot. Rides are accessible for anyone with basic trail experience, with adjustments for age, duration, and skill level as appropriate. Mountain bikes are recommended for all trail rides.
For families, new riders, and anyone interested in biking a short distance with social time afterwards at a local restaurant, there is a monthly Community Bike Ride on the paved Mountain Goat Trail (MGT) every first Saturday of the month starting at 4 p.m. from the gravel parking lot in Sewanee. This is a great ride for younger children and families. Riders who prefer biking on dirt trails also have the option of riding a short MGT section before exiting and riding to Lake Dimmick and back, then joining in social hour afterwards. To learn more about the Mountain Goat Trail, go to <mountaingoattrail.org> or email <email@example.com>.
Sewanee Elementary School (SES) has a group called Tigers Don’t Leave Tracks (TDLT) with a mission to improve environmental sustainability, partly through biking to school. This group uses resources from the community to provide opportunities for learning bike safety, basic maintenance, and creating safe ride routes from town to campus and trails in the area, with parental supervision and group organization through TDLT. A similar effort to improve bicycling safety and promote bike commuting in Sewanee and our surrounding area is currently led by Shelley MacLaren, director of the University Art Gallery, who has created bike advocacy programming through her work on the University Art Gallery exhibition Action By Design: Sustainability Planning in Sewanee and her connection with community planners and university leaders.
For middle school and high school students attending St. Andrew’s-Sewanee school or schools in the Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Chattanooga areas, there are interscholastic mountain biking teams competing in the Tennessee Interscholastic Cycling League, part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). More information about these teams and the national organization can be found at <www.sasweb.org>, <www.tennesseemtb.org>, and <www.nationalmtb.org>.
For road riding fans, the University of the South’s SOP <https://new.sewanee.edu/campus...; has both road and mountain biking opportunities for college students and there is a loose community group for adult riders to connect via text message for weekend co-ed road rides of 25-75 miles in length (with communication coordinated by Jeff Heitzenrater).
Bike rentals (including E-bikes) suitable for riding on smooth trails and on the paved Mountain Goat Trail are available at Woody’s Bicycles, with sizes for kids and adults. Drop by Woody’s Bicycles in downtown and check out their rental fleet and friendly bike repair service.
For more information, email Beth Pride Ford at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
tnAchieves needs more than 7,500 mentors by Oct. 21, 2022 to ensure every student in the TN Promise Class of 2023 has access to local mentor support. In 2023, tnAchieves is returning to in-person, mandatory meetings to allow all volunteers a high-impact, structured environment in which they can establish a stronger connection with their students.
“The entire tnAchieves team is eager to return to in-person mentor/student meetings,” said tnAchieves Senior Director of Mentors Tyler Ford. “After nearly three years of virtual or hybrid mentoring, we recognize that there is no replacement for gathering a group of students in-person to establish an initial connection.”
As Tennessee works to rebound from a nine-percentage point decline in college going during the pandemic, this return to in-person meetings partnered with the support of volunteer mentors will be a true difference-maker for students.
“Before talking with my mentor, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at all. I was avoiding thinking about the future and making a plan because I was unsure and scared,” said Ava, a 2022 TN Promise Student. “When my mentor contacted me, she helped me sort out the things I needed to do and helped me decide on a college. Because my mentor contacted me, I feel more at ease about the months and years to come. I am not stressing about college anymore and I feel confident in my choice!”
By giving one hour per month, tnAchieves mentors provide critical support and encouragement for high school seniors in their community. All volunteers are provided a training as well as ongoing support from the tnAchieves team. Those interested in applying or learning more can visit <https://tnAchieves.org/mentors...;.
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 <tyler@tnAchieves.org>.
The Sewanee Herbarium events are now following a seasonal schedule. Spring and summer offerings will be wildflower walks. Fall will bring various activities focused on art, and winter’s events will be instructional, i.e., plant identification using field guides. Nature journaling will be an on-going, year-round offering.
Foster Falls, Saturday, Aug. 20, 9 a.m., with Mary Priestley. This has long been a favorite spot for late season wildflowers that thrive in the open sun, such as blazing star and numerous asters. Meet at the Foster Falls parking area for this one-to-two-hour easy walk in the power line right-of-way above the gorge with optional short but steep trek to the bottom of the falls and back to see some trees and ferns. Contact the South Cumberland State Park Visitors’ Center for directions (931) 924-2980. Want to take a dip after the walk? Bring your suit. Foster Falls is also a wonderful place for a picnic.
Mountain Goat Trail, Saturday, Aug. 27, 9 a.m., with Yolande Gottfried. The Mountain Goat Trail is a paved walking/biking trail following an old railroad bed. We will walk a short section of it to spot late summer wildflowers. Meet in the parking lot of the Franklin County/Sewanee Airport at 262 Airport Road.
Nature Journaling, A group meets for nature journaling Thursdays from 9–11 a.m. Come try it out – stick with it if you like. Bring an unlined journal (or a few sheets of unlined paper) and a pen or pencil. No experience needed. For more information email <email@example.com>. All times are CST or CDT.
Wear appropriate shoes on all of these walks. Risks involved in hiking include physical exertion, rough terrain, forces of nature, and other hazards not present in everyday life. Picking flowers and digging plants are prohibited in all of the above-mentioned natural areas.
For more information on these or other Sewanee Herbarium events, please get in touch with Yolande Gottfried by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Aug. 2 meeting, the Monteagle Planning Commission confronted code, ordinance, and permit violation questions. At issue were retail units being sold as apartments, accessory dwellings on lots with a permanent residence, and the Dixie Lee Avenue/Sampley Street flooding from the RBT construction site stormwater runoff.
Building inspector Earl Geary brought to the commission’s attention the Bear Hollow property, to be auctioned Aug. 6, advertised the site included seven apartments. The apartments were originally created as retail space. “They were changed from retail to living spaces with no building permit or inspection,” Geary said. The new owner would need to “bring [the units] up to code before you move anyone back in.” Geary stressed concerns about fire with multiple units under one roof. “If one of those catches on fire, they’re all going to burn.”
Geary introduced a discussion about accessory dwelling units (ADU), pointing to a circumstance where new owner Cindy Church renovated a storage building for use as a rental apartment. “Monteagle does not allow two principal structures on one lot,” Geary said. “In my opinion it’s a violation of zoning ordinance and can’t be done.”
Cooley’s Rift subdivision residents noted the Cooley’s Rift Homeowners’ Association rules allowed accessory dwelling units.
Monteagle resident Dean Lay observed there were many accessory dwelling rentals in Monteagle.
“We’ve talked about accessory dwelling units a long time,” said Commission Chair Iva Michelle Russell. The issue remains unresolved. Russell apologized to Church and the Cooley’s Rift residents. Town Planner Annya Shalun provided the commission with information on ADU ordinances in nearby municipalities. The commission will hold a workshop to address the ADU question taking into account attached versus unattached units, lot size, whether an architectural drawing will be required for ADU projects, and whether the accessory unit will need to conform to the principal structure in design.
Monteagle resident Mary Beth Best presented the commission with a copy of a letter to the Monteagle Council and July 30 photographs documenting flooding from stormwater runoff at the RBT construction site. RBT has been “out of compliance close to 90 percent of the time they’ve held a [Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation] permit,” Best said, “and they have not even started construction, yet.” The letter states the violations “must be addressed before more serious and irrevocable damage is done to personal property and the health and well-being of the people of this town.” Best cited hydrological studies by engineer Jim Waller, who warned the commission and council about problems from stormwater runoff at the site. “The commission’s recommendations are very important,” Best said. “The council depends on you.”
Waller presented the commission with a letter proposing RBT be required to submit a revised site plan since more than a year has passed since the plan was approved. Waller argued for a revised stormwater plan to prevent “contamination” of the drinking water supply at Laurel Lake. “In the past year and half, RBT earthwork polluted [the lake] with silt, mud, other contaminants and debris,” Waller said. “When pollution of Laurel Lake is caused by the flushing of hydrocarbon pollutants into Monteagle’s storm drainage system [from the RBT Petro truck stop] …the effects on our water supply will be devastating.”