Annual Holiday Studio Tour
Tennessee Craft South invites the public to its annual Holiday Studio Tour on the Mountain, 10 a.m to 5 p.m. CST, Saturday, Dec. 3, and 11 a.m to 4 p.m. CST, Sunday, Dec. 4. Tennessee Craft South is the regional branch of Tennessee Craft, the state-wide organization which supports and promotes all handmade crafts in Tennessee.
Local and regional artists will show their work during the weekend: textiles, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, glass, paintings, metal work, and woodwork. Sewanee artist studios open to the public include those of Bob Askew, Pippa Browne, Ben Potter, Claire Reishman, and Merissa Tobler. Other locations are the American Legion Hall, Sewanee Art Works, Locals Gallery, and The Frame Gallery. In Monteagle, open studios include The Gallery in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly and Hallelujah Pottery. Light refreshments will be available at most locations.
Once again, there is a group exhibition of multiple artists’ work in the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Art Gallery, located in the center of the Simmonds Building at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. While many sites host individual artists’ work, the SAS Art Gallery presents an exhibition of Tennessee Craft members’ work as well as that of SAS faculty and students.
A special second year addition to the Tour is the Empty Tables project, an artist initiative sponsored by Tennessee Craft South — partnering with Sewanee Locally Grown, the Community Action Committee, and Morton Memorial Church — designed to address local hunger. Participating artists will set aside time to create art celebrating the growing, serving, and eating of food: bowls, plates, napkins, paintings, candlesticks, etc. These art pieces will be available for purchase at the American Legion Hall and 100 percent of money raised will be used to purchase food for those in need.
There are six sponsors for the Holiday Studio Tour this year: The Blue Chair, The Lemon Fair, Locals, Mooney’s, Shenanigans, and Bill Nickels Insurance Agency. Studio Tour brochures are available at each of these local businesses and at all participating studios.
Bright yellow signs mark the tour route, and maps are available at all locations on the tour as well as at all sponsors’ locations, in the Sewanee Mountain Messenger, and on the Tennessee Craft website http://tennesseecraft.org/members/chapters/south/;.
SUD: Rate Increase; Marion County Commissioner Needed
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
After long debate at the Nov. 15 meeting, the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners passed a 2023 budget calling for a rate increase to pay for employee raises and rising chemical, electricity, and materials costs. The board took the impact on elderly and low-income customers into careful consideration when configuring the rate increases. The volumetric water and sewer charge and the base rates will all increase, but by different amounts.
The base rate for water service will increase by 1.6 percent and for sewer service by 1.3 percent, a small 25–50 cents per month increase. The volumetric charge for water and sewer will both increase 5 percent. “Our customers who use less water are usually elderly and lower-income people,” said SUD manager Ben Beavers. “The increase in the volumetric rate doesn’t have as much effect as the increase in the base rate.” Commissioner Doug Cameron concurred, noting there was “a choice in water use.”
Beavers initially proposed a barebones break-even budget with only a 2.3 percent volumetric sewer rate increase. SUD President Charlie Smith expressed concern. “I’m uneasy about shooting that tight,” Smith said. “Can we increase the padding?” Beavers acknowledge he had done budgets with a narrower margin, but he had “more confidence” in being able to match revenue and expense. He said paying employees a fair wage and rising costs were the big “drivers” for the 2023 budget, citing the increased cost of gas and electricity, chemicals (up 8 percent), and PVC pipe. “There are too many unknowns,” insisted commissioner Donnie McBee. Addressing the boards concerns, Beavers suggested increasing the sewer volumetric charge to 5 percent instead of the minimal 2.3 percent increase initially proposed. In support of Beavers’ recommendation, Smith said, “Our more affluent clientele are connected to sewer.”
The board also considered implementing a $10 per month grinder pump fee for grinder pump customers. Grinder pumps typically lasted 8-12 years, and replacement costs $4,000, compared to $2,600 a few years ago, Beavers said. The board decided to defer any additional fee increases to a year when inflation did not so dramatically impact the budget. Nationally, water utility rates were increasing 5 percent on the average, according to Smith.
Taking up the upcoming commissioner election, Smith said three individuals had expressed interest. Marion County Commissioner Ronnie Hoosier is term limited and cannot pursue reelection. Prospective candidates must be a SUD customer and must reside in Marion County. Commissioners play an active role in making decisions about the community water supply and wastewater treatment. They receive a $50 monthly stipend, serve a four-year term, and are expected to attend monthly meetings and to participate in commissioner training. Individuals wishing to declare their candidacy should contact Beavers at the SUD office or a SUD commissioner. Those declaring their candidacy before the Dec. 13 board meeting will not be required to submit a nominating petition.
The SUD Board is considering instituting a voting-by-phone option and will revisit the topic in December.
Franklin County Schools: Wage Increases vs. Bonuses
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Nov. 14 Franklin County School Board meeting, Director of Schools Stanley Bean proposed a permanent wage increase as an alternative to the October meeting request for mid-year employee bonuses.
The mid-year bonus proposed at the October meeting called for $2,000 for certified employees and $1,000 for classified employees to narrow the wage gap with neighboring counties. Bean suggested drawing on the district’s reserve fund balance to give a $500 base salary increase for teachers with bachelor’s degrees, $600 for teachers with master’s degrees, and slightly more for teachers with a master’s plus 30 credentials. A “different tabulation” would be needed to calculate wage increases for classified hourly employees, Bean said. He stressed before final calculations could be made, more information was needed on TISA (Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement), the new state formula for determining school funding. Bean estimated receiving $4 million more from TISA, but said expenses no longer covered by the state would need to “come off the top.” In support of Bean’s proposal, Board Vice Chair Lance Williams said, “Bonuses are great, but they are a one-time thing.” Observing teachers and staff were still struggling from “the fallout of COVID,” board member Sarah Marhevsky suggested a bonus and raise both. “We can do whatever we want,” Bean said, but insisted final approval would fall to the county commission. Board member Casey Roberts pointed out Coffee County planned to give $1,500 bonuses to full-time employees and $750 to part-time employees, drawing from Federal Elementary and Secondary School Extended Relief funds. Board member Linda Jones invited input from district employees and asked for their “patience.” The board anticipates having information on TISA funding by the end of the year.
In other business, the board approved Bean’s request to allocate $5-per-student for classroom expenses. The money will come from unspent funds in the Workmen’s Compensation budget, Bean said. Principals will determine how the money is distributed, allowing for flexibility at the high school level.
Human Resources Supervisor Linda Foster announced a federal grant program through the University of Tennessee Southern in Pulaski, Tenn., which will enable aspiring Franklin County teachers to complete course work for teacher certification free of charge. To qualify for the two-year program, with instruction primarily online, the degree candidate would need to hold an associate degree, be employed by the school district as an educational assistant, and have a mentor paid for by the district. Foster anticipates as many as five degree candidates will begin the program in January 2023. “I’m thrilled,” Foster said. “It’s a good way to continually restaff our own community with people who live here and want to stay here.” Foster credited Sandra Stewart, coordinator of System Support Projects, for making the program a reality.
Bean announced he was stepping down as director of schools. “My contract ends June 30, and I do not plan on asking the board to extend it,” Bean said. He stressed he would help the board navigate plans for moving forward. Bean has guided the district through multiple difficult decisions occasioned by the COVID pandemic and building new middle schools [See sidebar, “Franklin County Director of Schools to Retire.”]
The board will take up hiring a new director of schools at a workshop, at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21. The board will also use the workshop to review the appeal of parents challenging the determination of the Disciplinary Hearing Authority to require alternative school for a student who committed a zero-tolerance offence.
Franklin County Director of Schools to Retire
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
After 39 years as an educator, Director of Schools Stanley Bean has announced his decision to retire. Bean took the helm as director in 2017 and has navigated the county schools through difficult and challenging times.
“People don’t understand what challenging times we’ve been going through,” Bean said. “They assume everything is normal, but it’s not.”
Bean accepted the invitation to serve as director in the midst of the controversy about whether to build one or two new middle schools. He ushered in the popular decision to build two new schools, but with construction barely underway, the COVID pandemic struck.
“The old schools had already been torn down,” Bean said. “In spite of construction workers with COVID taking sick leave, we managed to keep the construction going.” Nationally, many construction jobs went on hold. “People don’t realize how lucky we were to get the middle school projects done,” Bean insisted.
COVID presented a plethora of other problems, as well, with schools closed and children educated by distance learning strategies. Returning to the classroom in the fall meant grappling with difficult decisions about wearing masks and how to address the learning loss from the previous year.
Why is Bean stepping down now?
“I’m old enough to retire,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of change statewide and nationally in the next two to three years. Someone needs to jump in from the very beginning.” He cited the changes ushered in by new state laws, notably TISA (Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement), the new school funding formula, and mandated third grade retention for students who do not test at grade level. “The funding will be better,” Bean said, “but third grade retention is a major issue. We hope the legislature will change that.”
Bean plans to continue to play an active role between now and June 30 when his contract ends to guide the district into the changing times. He praised school district educators, support employees, and the school board. “I’ve had a lot of good people support me, and I’ve tried to support them.”
What will Bean do when he retires?
“I never thought I would retire,” Bean confessed. “I don’t have any plans. Maybe something in education,” he speculated. If that is the case, the world of education will be well served by his decision.
Sewanee Senior Citizens Christmas Bazaar
The Sewanee Senior Citizens’ annual Christmas Bazaar will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 through Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, at the Senior Center, 39 Ball Park Rd.
This year’s Bazaar will feature baked goods and crafts, but no white elephants. Tickets toward a drawing for a handmade quilt or $250 cash are available for $2 each.
Donations of crafts, baked goods or money are welcome. For more info contact the Senior Center between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday at (931) 598-0771.
Housing Sewanee Applications Available
Applications are available at the Community Action Committee (CAC) for families who would like to be considered for the next house to be constructed by Housing Sewanee Inc. These applications should be picked up, filled out, and returned before Dec. 31, 2022.
Housing Sewanee uses volunteer labor to build simple, energy-efficient, low maintenance houses for members of the greater Sewanee community. When the house is complete, the family will pay back the cost of the house by a 30-year interest-free loan which helps to pay for new houses.
Clients who are able are asked to help with construction. It usually takes about 18 months to complete a house. College students and other community volunteers provide most of the work force. The plan for the next house is to make it as energy efficient as possible and to use as many local materials as possible. This should reduce long-term energy costs for the homeowner.
Housing Sewanee Inc. is a nonprofit organization modeled after Habitat for Humanity. Founded in 1993, Housing Sewanee has built more than 21 homes for our community members.
Applications can be picked up at the CAC office, located St. Mark’s and St. Paul’s Parish (formally Otey Parish) on University Ave., downloaded from the HSI website
Arcadia at Sewanee Launches Survey
Arcadia at Sewanee’s Board of Directors announces the launch of a survey that will determine the demand for the establishment of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Sewanee. ProMatura, a consulting firm that is recognized nationally as one of the strongest possible advisors for such projects, has been engaged to develop and analyze the survey’s results. The survey is being disseminated to a broad range of constituents including the University’s current and retired faculty and staff, University and St. Andrew’s-Sewanee alumni, and residents of Sewanee and its surrounding communities. The survey can also be accessed by going to <https://bit.ly/3EwUfoc;.
The survey asks you to consider becoming a resident in a potential retirement community with questions related to its possible location on or near the University Domain, and what services, amenities, and lodging you would prefer. ProMatura will evaluate the responses to quantify the demand for a CCRC which will enable Arcadia, the University, and potential developers to determine the feasibility of a retirement community in Sewanee.
This effort complements Arcadia’s introduction of LiveWell on the Mountain’s aging-in-place services to the Sewanee and Monteagle communities. These two efforts are aimed at creating two viable options for those interested in coming to Sewanee to live out their retirement years.
Candidate Sought for SUD Board of Commissioners
The Sewanee Utility District is seeking a SUD customer who lives in Marion County to serve on its Board of Commissioners. Those interested in serving should contact the SUD office for more details. The deadline for application is Tuesday, Dec. 13. The SUD board will approve a slate of nominees at the December meeting. Voting will begin at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023 at the SUD office and continues until 4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Final selection will be by the vote of SUD customers.
DanceWise Performances Start Nov. 17
“DanceWise: Corporealities” is a dance concert produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance, with artistic direction by Associate Professor of Dance Courtney World. The production features choreography and performances by both students and faculty, as well as a dance created for Sewanee students by guest choreographer Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre.
The performances will be at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20, in the Proctor Hill Theater.
Admission is free. Tickets can be reserved at < https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dancewise-corporealities-tickets-460404762037?aff=erelexpmlt;
Babson Center Welcomes Cook Lecture on Nov. 17
John Cook, director of sustainability, Niagara Bottling, LLC, will be the Babson Center’s Bryan Viewpoints Speaker for the 2022 Advent semester. He will offer his insights into the growing influence of sustainability directors in businesses given increases in regulatory oversight, climate change risks, activist investing, and consumer and employee social and environmental awareness.
During his visit, Cook will meet with students and faculty. He will deliver a public presentation, “Planting a ‘Green’ Seat in the C-Suite: Sustainability Leadership,” at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, in the Torian Room at duPont Library. This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, Sewanee Environmental Institute, and the Department of Natural Resources.
Prior to Cook’s role at Niagara Bottling, he served as the first director of sustainability at the University of California Riverside where he certified the first LEED Building on campus and installed the first campus PV solar array, among many accomplishments. He also worked as a consultant with Domani Sustainability, re-establishing a corporate recycling program for United Airlines. He started his career in academia and ultimately left for administration and then the for-profit business world, always with a goal of looking at consumption and growth through a sustainability lens.
Since 1963, Niagara Bottling, LLC, has been a family owned and operated company with 47 locations on three continents. It is the largest manufacturer of bottled water in North America and sells a range of products from spring to sparkling water, tea, vitamin enhanced water, and protein nutrition shakes. Niagara Bottling also manufactures private label bottled water for other companies, such as Costco and Safeway.
During an interview in 2018 with the International Society of Sustainability, Cook admitted that, “working for a bottled water company may seem a bit like an oxymoron for a sustainability officer, or like greenwashing at best. But it is not! At Niagara Bottling, I am working to drive sustainability in all aspects of our operations, our company culture, and our product.”
Building on 15 years of work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he recently oversaw the installation of more than 65 megawatts of renewable electricity at Niagara that immediately made a positive financial return. After overcoming some internal resistance, Niagara achieved LEED Gold certification for their new headquarters in Diamond Bar, CA, and received support to obtain TRUE Zero Waste certification for 33 of their manufacturing plants.
Cook began his college career at Texas A&M in marine science and as a cadet in the Merchant Marines. He graduated with an honors BA in fine arts studies from York University in Ontario, Canada, and then earned a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and an MBA in Sustainability Management from Presidio Graduate School. Cook holds accreditation from the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, Alliance for Water Stewardship, TRUE Zero Waste and LEED.
The Bryan Viewpoints Speaker Series is sponsored by the Babson Center for Global Commerce and is made possible by a generous gift from Peggy and J.F. Bryan IV, C’65. For more information about the Babson Center for Global Commerce and our events, please visit: <babsoncgc.sewanee.edu>.
All are welcome to attend.
Philanthropy Internship Program Celebrates Grants to Local Organizations
The public is invited to a celebration of grants made to organizations on the South Cumberland Plateau on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. The ceremony will take place in Convocation Hall on the University campus at 5 p.m.
The philanthropy internship program is an innovative partnership between South Cumberland Community Fund and the University of the South’s Office of Civic Engagement. Interns spend a full year learning about the grants process. In the spring, they shadow SCCF’s grants committee, and in the fall, students serve as a grants committee. They learn from guest speakers from the community and from their instructor, Katie Goforth, director of community development for both SCCF and the University.
Every year, as part of the learning experience for the interns, a guest speaker presents his or her perspective on philanthropy at the celebration. This year, the guest speaker will be Scott Satterwhite, president of the William Josef Foundation, and a pioneer of social impact investing. Satterwhite will speak about collaborative grant making, following up on the Make Lasting Connections grant that SCCF made earlier this year to launch a new free medical clinic in Tracy City, and an innovative Housing Hub.
This year’s philanthropy internship program grants will fund the following projects:
Arts Inside will create and manage a Mutual Aid Network that will be dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of formerly incarcerated people and other at-risk individuals;
Easy’s Dog Shelter will outfit a climate-controlled in-take building for new arrivals;
Folks at Home will provide to senior citizens a resource called “Better Balance: Simple Exercises to Improve Stability and Prevent Falls”;
Friends of South Cumberland State Parks, with its partner, South Cumberland Regional Land Trust, will launch a Forest School in partnership with the Cumberland Forest School;
Grundy County Food Bank will provide partial funding towards the purchase of a second walk-in freezer for their new facility;
Grundy County Mayor’s Office will create a professional video about Tennessee’s South Cumberland region that will encourage tourist visitation to this economically-distressed region; and
Mountain Goat Trail Alliance will develop new signage on the trail.
“These students worked hard on studying these grant proposals and thinking about what would make the greatest positive impact on our community,” said Goforth. “Twice a year, we hold grant celebrations that really shine a bright light on the great work that local organizations are doing on the Plateau.”
“We are grateful to the many donors who make this program possible,” said Tom Sanders, executive director of SCCF. “Our vision is that the South Cumberland Plateau be a place of hope and prosperity for all its residents, and these celebrations provide tangible evidence of hope, just as the grants work toward prosperity.”
If you are not able to attend and wish to see a report on the exciting projects these grants fund, please send a request to Tom Sanders <email@example.com>.
Greening of the Chapel
On Friday, Dec. 2, members of the Sewanee community and beyond are invited to join in the Greening of All Saints’ Chapel in preparation for the 63rd annual Festival of Lessons and Carols to be held Dec. 3 and 4. 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. 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. 4. Meet Ken Taylor in the narthex of All Saints’ Chapel.
Choral Evensong Nov. 13
Choral Evensong will be sung by the University Choir at 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13, in All Saints’ Chapel. This service will feature music composed by British composers, including Alex Fishburn, Herbert Howells, John Rutter and Charles Wood. Geoffrey Harris Ward, University Organist and Choirmaster, and Adam Cobb will both accompany and conduct the choir. Erik Gustafson, Visiting Instructor of Voice, will be the soloist for the Howells Canticles.
Lasting about 45 minutes, Choral Evensong is a uniquely Anglican (Episcopalian) service for the close of the day, combining the two monastic offices of Vespers and Compline. From St. Paul’s Cathedral, London: “It offers an opportunity for the congregation to participate by silently associating themselves with the words that the Choir offer on behalf of all of us. Many people find that this provides a place in which to be still; to allow those thoughts and feelings, which are otherwise suppressed by a busy life, to come closer to us than life outside allows; and to catch a vision of God’s glory in the beauty of holiness.”
Club Lit Fundraiser Features Kevin Wilson
SoLit will host the fundraiser, Club Lit, at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Chattanooga Whiskey Hall. New York Times bestselling author Kevin Wilson will be the highlight of the event as he shares his latest novel, “Now is Not the Time to Panic,” as well as interact with guests and sign books. The event will offer a fun evening of live music, specialty drinks, silent auction and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $75 per person or $600 for a table of eight and can be purchased at <https://www.solitchatt.org/clublit2022;.
The Local Distinguished Author Award will also be given to one of our most accomplished local authors during the event. All ticket proceeds will fund SoLit and its literary programs such as literary festivals, student writing competitions, outreach to underserved communities, and more.
From Sewanee, Wilson is an associate English professor at the University of the South as well as author of three other novels and two short story collections, all of which have been subject to acclaim and awards throughout his writing career. His 2011 novel, “The Family Fang,” is an acclaimed New York Times bestselling novel that was adapted into a movie of the same name in 2015. His 2019 novel, “Nothing to See Here,” is his second New York Times bestselling novel as well as a Read with Jenna book club selection. His short story collections “Tunneling to the Center of the Earth” and “Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine” received an Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Shirley Jackson Award, respectively. His work has appeared in several publications such as The Cincinnati Review, One Story, Tin House, and Ploughshares.
“Not the Time to Panic” has been named as A Most Anticipated Book of Fall by the Associated Press, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today. The novel follows the story of the 16-year-old aspiring writer, offbeat loner, and indifferent student, Frankie Budge, as she’s determined to make it through yet another sad summer in Coalfield, Tenn. She meets Zeke, a talented artist who’s recently moved into his grandmother’s house and is just as much of an awkward loner as Frankie. Romantic and creative sparks fly and the two collaborate on a poster with an enigmatic, unforgettable phrase to anyone who sees it: “The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.” The posters appear everywhere around Coalfield and rumors spread around to who could’ve made them. Satanists? Kidnappers? The quiet town community suddenly erupts with panic and Frankie and Zeke must decide if their art is worth the risk, and if their relationship can survive the circumstance.
Founded in 1952, SoLit has evolved into a literary arts hub for Chattanooga. Previously known as Southern Lit Alliance, the mission is to deliver literary arts experiences that engage young people and adults in a life-long love of reading, writing, and community conversation. For more information, go to <www.southernlitalliance.org>.
63rd Annual Lessons and Carols
On Christmas Eve, 1918, the Chaplain of King’s College, Cambridge took a Cornish Christmas tradition and brought it to the world. Weaving together biblical readings with seasonal music, the service prepared participants to hear the announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ. For over 60 years, Sewanee has hosted its own service, and coming as it does at the end of the Advent semester, the gathering becomes, for many, the Christmas celebration of the University. In addition to the students, staff, and faculty of the University, the service is open to the broader community in Sewanee and beyond.
We look forward to welcoming the extended Sewanee family back into All Saints’ Chapel in 2022. With seats for more than 1,000 guests, we anticipate being able to seat every person who comes to worship in All Saints’ Chapel. Two services, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, and 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4, feature walk-up seating, and doors will open an hour in advance of the service. The 7 p.m. service on Saturday, Dec. 3 will be live-streamed <https://vimeo.com/event/167828; for friends and family who are unable to attend in-person. The service at 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, features reserved seating. Please note that large bags or backpacks will not be allowed in All Saints’ Chapel. Email us with questions <firstname.lastname@example.org>.