Environmental Arts & Humanities Festival

The inaugural Environmental Arts & Humanities Festival will be April 4–6. The festival features guest lecturers, walks, food, and more all around Sewanee. Be sure to take in the sights and sounds in our various opportunities throughout the Sewanee campus. Schedule is as follows.

9:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 4, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, “The Other Iraq: Environmental Imaginaries of Kurdistan” with Diana Hatchett. The environmental imaginaries of “Kurdistan,” a territory encompassing portions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, are central to claiming belonging and sovereignty in a contested landscape characterized as an “oasis” in the politically unstable Middle East.

11 a.m., Tuesday, April 4, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, “Eating in the Oil Sands: How Boreal Forest Foods Speak to Us” with Janelle Baker. The Boreal forest in what is now known as subarctic Canada is a celebrated source of food and identity for Sakawiyiniwak (Northern Bush Cree) communities, despite a rapid influx of oil and gas and logging activities in the area. This talk will tell the story of Sakawiyiniwak stewardship, reciprocity, environmental monitoring, and survivance.

12:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing) with Karen Kuers. Lunch time half-hour talk (all welcome to listen and bring a brown bag lunch).

1:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, Medicine Walk with local Herbalist Jen Cline (Meet at Green’s View). Sponsored by the Farm Club.

3 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, Shake Rag Walk with Jon Evans (Meet at Green’s View). Have a look at the Cumberland Plateau’s Spring Flora.

7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, in Convocation Hall, “Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Local Food Heritage” with Rick Stepp. This talk examines what localized Traditional Ecological Knowledge can teach us about global environmental issues and food systems. Case studies draw on long term research from two areas of the world with some of the highest biocultural diversity related to food: the Highland Maya Region of Southern Mexico and the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia.

10 a.m., Wednesday, April 5, Medicine Walk with Thomas Powell, (meet in front of Snowden, limit 25). A chance to locate edible and medicinal plants on the domain.

11 a.m., Wednesday, April 5, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, Workshop I: Arts Based Engagement in Ethnobiology, with Janelle Baker. Participants will be invited to participate in a series of arts-based activities for engagement with ethnobiology, including relationships with more-than-humans, news sources, and reflections.

noon, Wednesday, April 5, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, “Multispecies Entanglements in Great Lakes Agricultural Landscapes” with Lindi Masur. Engaging a Posthumanist Paleoethnobotany, this talk examines relationships between early farmers, their crops, weedy species, animals, and ancestors in agricultural fields to consider the agency of non-human actors in the construction of cultural landscapes and local cuisine. Lunch time half-hour talk (all welcome to listen and bring a brown bag lunch).

1 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, Herbarium Tour (Meet at Spencer Hall) with J.T. Michel.

2 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, “Psychoactive or Spirit?: Sociality, Shamanism, and the History of Hallucinogenic Plants in South America” with Stephen Berquist. Psychoactive plants have long played a central role in Andean and Amazonian religion and cosmology. Recently, foreign tourists seeking shamanistic experiences have begun to impact local communities and economies, prompting a debate on the ethics and politics of psychedelic tourism. What can we learn by juxtaposing these debates in the present with plant-based rituals of the past?

3 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, Herbarium Tour (Meet at Spencer Hall) with J.T. Michel.

4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, in the Social Lodge, Workshop II: Tasting Biocultural Diversity: Indigenous Tea from its Center of Origin in Southeast Asia with Rick Stepp. Participants will learn about tea and biocultural diversity and sample tea from the area where it was first domesticated in the Bulang Mountains.

7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 5, in Convocation Hall. Tree listening, with David Haskell. Both literal and metaphorical listening to trees can help us to understand their lives. By using our unaided ears, recording and sonification technologies, and conversations with people whose lives are entangled with trees, we gain insights into the many ways that trees are champion ecological networkers.

10 a.m., Thursday, April 6, in the Women’s Center Mary Sue Cushman Room, “Ethnobiology: The Future of the Science of Survival” with Janelle Baker and Rick Stepp. Topics will include why humanity needs ethnobiology, the continuing relevance of the field, and jobs in applied ethnobiology.

This Festival is sponsored by the University Lectures Committee, SIPE (The Sewanee Integrated Program in the Environment), the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, the Department of English and the Department of Religious Studies.

Volunteers Needed for Trails & Trilliums

Help support our State Parks, both South Cumberland and Savage Gulf, Tennessee’s newest State Park. Proceeds from Trails & Trilliums, April 21–23 in Beersheba Springs, help preserve and protect our great parklands. Sign up for a two-hour shift (Registration, Children’s Activities, etc.). Before and after your shift, enjoy the native plant sale, vendors, and presentations by dozens of top naturalists. Volunteers can attend for free any sessions with space available on the day you assist. Join with great people for a great cause. Teenagers are welcome to volunteer. To volunteer go to https://www.trailsandtrilliums.org/volunteer.html;.

Contact Volunteer Chair Raymond Nance <rcnance45@gmail.com> with questions.

Roarks Cove Road to Close for Maintenance

The Highway Department will be closing Roarks Cove Road on Monday, April 10 near the top of Sewanee Mountain between Running Knob Hollow Road and the Perimeter Trail. Geostabilization International will be contracted to perform a slope stabilization on a potential slide area near the waterfall. This construction is expected to last up to 8-10 working days depending on weather conditions. We ask that motorist please plan another route in advance if this is your usual route of travel and please contact our office with any questions or for more info on this project, (931) 967-2755 or email <luke.mccuny@franklincotn.us>.

Angel Wing Mural Contest at the Lemon Fair

by Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

A large angel wing mural will soon grace the side of The Lemon Fair, and owner Andrea Woodard-Evans hopes someone local will design it.

She asks that students, local artists, and other creative folks submit designs to the Angel Wing Mural Contest called “What Does Your Sewanee Angel Look Like?” by Friday, May 19, 2023. Submissions may be emailed to <info@thelemonfairsewanee.com> or dropped off at the store at 60 University Avenue in downtown Sewanee.

A charming legend says that angels flocked to Sewanee when it was first created because it was so beautiful, and that everyone who sets foot on the Domain receives a guardian angel for protection.

The Lemon Fair became famous for the story of the Sewanee angels back in the 1980s when a former owner asked a songwriter friend to write about the legend and had an employee illustrate it. The simple angel story took wings, eventually resulting in the phrase “Protected by a Sewanee Angel” becoming trademarked.

Woodard-Evans stressed the importance of creativity in the mural design. Whether the design is in color or simply white is up to the submitting artist. “We want the community to decide what the Sewanee Angel looks like to them.”

A panel of judges will select the winning design, which will be painted on the side of the building adjacent to the Sewanee Angel Park. “If the winner is an artist who wishes to paint the mural, that’s fine,” Woodard-Evans said, “or we will hire a painter to do it.” Persons interested in doing the actual painting should contact her as well.

“We hope this is a mural that people will stand in front of to take pictures and tag on social media and get the name of the downtown Sewanee area out there,” she added.

All contest submissions will be used to create notecards, greeting cards, coffee mugs, or tea towels, with proceeds going to the Sewanee Community Chest, a nonprofit which supports local organizations who serve the common good. Past recipients include Sewanee Elementary School, Folks at Home, Sewanee Senior Center, the Community Action Committee, and the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance.

Woodard-Evans and her husband, Scott Evans, who are both Nashville-based realtors, bought the iconic downtown store nearly two years ago. She brought her fellow realtor and friend, Dan Groover, on board as a business partner since he had retail experience.

“We bought the store in the summer of 2021 and had the idea for the mural from the start. It just took time to get approvals,” Woodard-Evans said, noting that the university and the Sewanee Business Alliance are both excited about the mural.

She plans to have an unveiling event for the mural, possibly at the start of school or even Reunion Weekend.

Since buying the store, which has continuously operated for more than 50 years, Woodard-Evans has painstakingly remodeled the front interior by removing an old loft to vault the ceiling, which is now accented with wood beams and a stunning light fixture reminiscent of the Sewanee Inn.

While Woodard-Evans and Groover go to the Dallas and Atlanta markets to source merchandise, long-time employee Zory Deering handles the day-to-day operations along with a small team of part-time student workers.

“Business is going great,” Woodard-Evans said. “It’s been a lot of fun getting to know the locals.”

She and Groover have added new merchandise to the store: clothes, jewelry, home goods, dorm room décor, and food items from Stonewall Kitchens and Bourbon Barrel.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the store’s large Sewanee section. The Sewanee Angels and souvenir section owes its origin to former owner, Gay Alvarez. “We’re very proud to carry on her legacy. We sell local pottery and works by local artists like Bob Askew. We have lots of Protected by a Sewanee Angel merchandise. Baby clothes and onesies. We have Sewanee books,” she said.

One nice perk for locals is a 15 percent discount.

“We’ve really loved becoming part of the community,” Woodard-Evans added. “Please pop in and introduce yourself. We love meeting new people.”

The Lemon Fair is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.

Arcadia at Sewanee Reports Results of Survey

Arcadia at Sewanee received encouraging results from a survey launched in November to determine the demand for a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Sewanee. The survey was conducted by ProMatura, a national consulting firm that is recognized as one of the strongest possible advisors for such projects. The Arcadia at Sewanee Board of Directors is grateful to the alumni, retired and current faculty and staff, and area residents who dedicated their time to complete the survey. The number of responses enabled ProMatura to make its recommendations with a high degree of confidence.

Arcadia’s Board is diligently working toward next steps which include active discussions with the University of the South regarding possible sites for the CCRC. Below is a summary of ProMatura’s conclusions and recommendations.

The results indicate sufficient demand to support a CCRC on or near the University domain. ProMatura recommends that Arcadia continue its work to develop a retirement community of up to 140 units with approximately 70 percent being independent living, 20 percent assisted living, and 10 percent memory care units. ProMatura further recommends that Arcadia at Sewanee identify a strong CCRC developer and initiate financing options.

ProMatura recommends a mix of one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments of 800 to 1,500 square feet, and cottages of up to 2,200 square feet.

The survey indicates that any of several location types would be workable, including in a woodland area on the Domain, or near “Downtown Sewanee,” or with a bluff view near the Domain. Several possible sites are under active discussion.

Supporting observations and conclusions include:

Nearly 90 percent of respondents indicate that they feel positive or very positive about Sewanee as a potential location;

Just over 50 percent of the respondents are alumni, reside in Tennessee, with a high concentration living in Sewanee and its surrounding communities;

Services rated as most essential include dedicated assisted living and memory care apartments, scheduled shuttle service to University venues and events, and opportunities for lifelong learning;

Desired amenities include a restaurant style dining room, tech and computer services, a library/reading room, and a fitness center;

More than half the respondents indicate they are interested in intergenerational friendships;

Approximately one third of the respondents requested to be kept informed of Arcadia at Sewanee’s progress toward establishing a CCRC.

ProMatura noted that arrangements for access to state-of-the-art healthcare will be an important consideration.

Arcadia’s Board looks forward to sharing developments during the coming months, and updates can be found on Arcadia’s new website at <https://www.arcadiaatsewanee.org/;.

Monteagle: Drug Dog, Weapons Swap, Dumping Law

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the March 27 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council approved a contract establishing a canine drug-search program and the police department switching from using .357 Magnums to 9mm pistols. The council heard from Adam Hughes with Save Our Cumberland Mountains about the efficacy of adopting the Jackson Law to regulate dumping and solid waste facilities.

Police Chief William Raline stressed the drug dog was trained to alert on fentanyl, heroine, and methamphetamine, not marijuana. Money in the drug fund from confiscated cash and vehicles would pay for the program for three years, Raline said. He anticipated future drug arrests facilitated by the dog would pay for the program beyond that time, noting for the former owner dog-facilitated arrests yielded $80,000 in the first six months. Raline said the dog was a non-aggressive breed, “very docile,” and trained for tracking to search for children.

Raline recommended the police switch from using .357 Magnums to using 9mm pistols, explaining .357s were more expensive for practice and training due to the ammunition cost. Mayor Greg Maloof said 9mm pistols “appeared to be a safer and more practical weapon and ammunition program for our city.” The money to fund the weapons “swap” will come from the police Machinery and Equipment budget. The council approved an amount not to exceed $2,500.

Hughes said adopting the Jackson Law would allow the town to block or accept the creation or enlargement of landfills and solid waste processing facilities within one mile of the city limits. “There’s no downside,” Hughes emphasized. Maloof recommended the town “consider” adopting the law.

Turning to utilities concerns, the council approved Monteagle engineer Travis Wilson’s recommendation for core sample testing of the concrete basin at the water plant, cost $33,000, before proceeding with recoating the basin. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued Monteagle a Notice of Violation requiring the town to address the “peeling” surface coating. “You wouldn’t want to spend $60,000-$70,000 to line the basin and find out it’s not going to adhere and will peel off due to degradation or a chemical process going on inside the concrete,” Wilson said. The core sample will provide information on what material to use for the resurfacing. The basin was critical to the water plant’s operation, Wilson insisted. If it failed, Monteagle would have no water.

Updating the council on the TV camera inspection done to identify inflow and infiltration of rainwater into the sanitary sewer, Wilson said the contractor who did the inspection reported “it was one of the worst systems they had televised.” ARP grant money will pay for the repair. Asked about sewer capacity concerns with new development coming, Wilson said sewer rehabilitation could be done “within a year” once the grant funding was received.

The council also approved $500 for Tennessee Tourism Organization dues and $2,800 for the Street Department garage to increase the electric service from 100 amps to 200 amps to facilitate charging batteries for power tools.

In “new business” the council approved an ordinance governing accessory dwelling units; an ordinance allowing businesses to have side and front loading rather than a rear setback to accommodate loading; and an ordinance extending the time for site plan review to one month.

The council announced the following events: Easter Egg Hunt at 1 p.m., April 1, Hannah Picket Park; Monteagle Cemetery cleanup at 7 a.m., April 1, and 2 p.m., April 2; Fresh Mess farmers market Mondays at Harton Park, 4–6 p.m., beginning May 15; and Sparkle Week, May 15-19. The Monteagle Cemetery is taking bids for lawn maintenance. See the Monteagle website for details.

2023 Edible Books Festival at Sewanee

Jessie Ball duPont Library will celebrate the International Edible Books Festival with a contest scheduled for Monday, April 3. The entries for the contest will be accepted from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the reception will take place from 3:30–5:30 p.m. in the Main Lobby of the Library. This event is sponsored by The Friends of the Library, Sewanee Dining, and Library and Information Technology Services.

Find out all the details about the event and register your entry at <https://library.sewanee.edu/ediblebooks;. Each entry should be edible and represent a book or something about a book. Past entries have included “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Hunger Games,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and “The Hungry Caterpillar,” among other literary greats.

The festival has several special categories for judging: Punniest; Best Children’s Book; People’s Choice; Best Team Entry; Best Professional Entry; Best Youth/Children’s Entry; Best Local (Sewanee) Theme.

If you are a Pinterest user, explore this board for Edible Book ideas and a look at some of our entries from previous years at <http://pinterest.com/penelk/edible-book-ideas/;.

For more information about the Edible Books Festival, please contact Stephanie Borne at (931) 598-1265 or <sborne@sewanee.edu>.

‘Waco: American Apocalypse’: A Complex Truth

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Interrupted from reading the Sunday morning paper by her editor’s instruction to head for Waco, “These are your kind of people,” disaster-beat Dallas Morning News reporter Lee Hancock arrived just past noon midst an unfolding tragedy, with four federal agents and two Branch Davidian cult members dead in the worst gunfight on American soil since the Civil War. The religious cult holed up in the Mount Carmel compound had weapons that could penetrate body armor. The 51-day siege that followed ended in a fiery inferno fulfilling the prophecy of cult leader David Koresh, with over 70 Branch Davidians dying including 28 children. A Sewanee resident and University graduate (C’81), Hancock sums up the subsequent Hollywood film and conspiracy-theory documentaries recounting the story as “B.S.” She was there for the duration, in the early days sleeping in her car and breakfasting on Salvation Army coffee and donuts. Hancock’s terms for participating in the just released Netflix documentary “Waco: American Apocalypse”: “I said I was all in if they presented this in its true complexity and factually, and they did.”

“What we have here is a total failure to communicate,” Hancock said in one documentary interview. Footnoting scenes, Hancock explained the FBI Hostage Crisis Negotiators believed “the constant barrage of aggressive tactics by the Hostage Rescue Team” sullied negotiations and thwarted their efforts “to get people out.” The HRT disabled phone lines and lights, inflicted sleep deprivation with loud music and animal scream recordings and responded to seven Branch Davidians surrendering by bulldozing the cult’s cars with army tanks. The HRT complained the negotiators failed to keep them informed. “The HRT operatives are trained to do intense intervention,” Hancock stressed, “but they’re not heartless automatons.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) orchestrated the initial attack to arrest Koresh and search for illegal firearms. The ATF chose to ignore information the cult had been tipped off about the surprise attack and went in anyway, Hancock said, “knowing ‘these guys were armed to the teeth.’” Offering a possible rationale she observed, “Cops had been going in and doing paramilitary raids like this in the United States for years, but there had never been this kind of armed reaction to law enforcement.”

Hancock praised director Tiller Russell’s documentary not only for being “factual,” but for doing “the important job of portraying the complexity and humanity of everyone involved.” “This is not a binary good-guy/bad-guy story,” Hancock emphasized. Law enforcement agents and surviving cult members weep in recounting the Waco tragedy. Kathy Schroeder, a David Koresh true believer, talks about arming up for the siege and the honor of being selected to have sexual intercourse with Koresh who proclaimed himself the Messiah and the only male in the compound permitted to engage in intercourse, choosing child brides as young as 11. The documentary shows negotiators persuading Schroeder to leave the compound to be reunited with her toddler son.

Hancock would later cover Hurricane Katrina and stories in Baghdad and Kuwait, but she said of Waco, “The ability to listen to complex stories and not oversimplify them started here for me. When people trust you with their stories, you’re given a gift.” Today Hancock works with student journalists on The Purple staff, hoping to impart that skill. “The effects of Waco ripple out to this day,” she said, citing the current obsession with conspiracy theory and the deep state. The Oklahoma City bombing, and Columbine massacre have date-stamp links to the final day.

When the FBI began teargassing the building, there was almost a sense of relief, Hancock acknowledged. The prevailing sentiment was, “finally this will end. They’ll come out.” No one envisioned the cult setting the building on fire and the massive arsenal stored inside exploding, fulfilling Koresh’s prophecy.

The three-part Netflix series “Waco: American Apocalypse” began March 22, the day in 1993 FBI negotiators endorsed a teargas plan. At one point, Koresh promised to come out when he finished writing his “Seven Seals” message. Should the FBI have waited? How long?

NOTE: A four part special companion to the Netflix documentary series “Waco: American Apocalypse” is available on:


SUD Elects Officers, Approves Two Purchases

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the March 21meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners, the board elected officers for 2023. The board approved two purchases, one to replace a stolen utility vehicle and one to replace a beyond-repair testing device.

The board elected Charlie Smith president, Johnny Hughes vice president, and Doug Cameron secretary. Officers serve until the next commissioners election.

SUD manager Ben Beavers said SUD received $6,400 from an insurance claim for the four-wheeler stolen from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. A utility vehicle was needed for maintenance of the spray fields, Beavers explained. The options were a one-person vehicle not designed to haul tools, estimated cost $8,000, or a two-person vehicle with a dump bed, estimated cost $14,000. The board approved the purchase of a two-person utility vehicle, cost not to exceed $14,203, based on the best price Beavers has found so far. He will search for lower prices before making the purchase.

The board also approved purchase of a used backflow-testing kit, cost $500. SUD requires backflow devices to prevent water from irrigation systems and other operations from re-entering the drinking water supply. SUD must test the devices for accuracy. Beavers said SUD’s testing unit was 25-30 years old and could not be calibrated or repaired. A new testing unit costs $895. Beavers owns the used unit. The unit has only been used twice. The unit has just been recalibrated and carried a warranty on the calibration, Beavers said.

Reporting on other business, Beavers said he reviewed and approved for submission to the state the engineering plans for a 1,200-foot water line extension with six taps in the Deep Woods development. Developers pay for water line extensions which must be engineered according to SUD’s standards. Following approval and inspection, SUD assumes ownership and maintenance. The developer anticipates beginning construction in May, Beavers said.

Updating the board on SUD’s American Recovery Plan (ARP) grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Beavers said the deadline for TDEC requesting clarification had passed. Beavers has several questions and hopes to initiate a meeting with the Franklin County grants coordinator. Beavers wants to begin work on the Asset Management Program required by the grant, but TDEC has not yet provided criterion for the program. Beavers also wants to know if SUD can engage different engineers for different projects to be funded by the grant, since qualifications will differ. SUD anticipates receiving a $1.5 million grant with 15 percent coming from Franklin County, 15 percent paid by SUD, and the remainder coming from the ARP.

Reporting on operations, Beavers said unaccounted-for water loss was decreasing, due to SUD finding and repairing leaks. Unaccounted-for water loss is water produced at the plant that does not register on customer meters. Beavers said SUD recently addressed a “meter blowout” and leak on Jump Off Road. Part of the ARP grant money will be used for leak detection and evaluating pressure zones. Beavers hopes unaccounted for water loss for 2023 will be 2-2.5 percent less than last year.

The Frame Gallery: Five Years of Art

by Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

Reflecting on her first five years as owner of the Frame Gallery in downtown Sewanee, local businesswoman Harriet Runkle is most proud of the fact that her business is thriving.

“I’m proud I’ve hung in there,” Runkle said. “It’s not easy to have your own small business in Sewanee.”

Barely two years after opening her custom framing business in the old Jackson’s Garage Esso station in January of 2018, Runkle found herself faced with the devastating loss of her beloved friend and fellow “Frame Gal” Rea Ching Mingeva, a master framer and artist, in February of 2020. This loss was almost immediately followed by a mandatory two-week shutdown in March at the start of the Covid pandemic.

When the shutdown ended, Runkle had to adapt to a new normal. “People would leave their art outside the door and text or talk on the phone,” Runkle said, adding that during the first pandemic year Sewanee alum Matt Costello worked with the Sewanee Business Alliance to set up a general relief fund to help downtown businesses keep their lights on during the toughest times.

“The support from the community was amazing,” she said.

As the pandemic slowly stretched into its second year, she went to appointment only. An unexpected benefit from people being at home during this time was that they were doing projects that required framing, so sales began inching up.

In August of 2021, a man made disaster hit — the downtown road construction project, which limited access to the shop just as Covid restraints were lessening.

“I had orange barrels around my shop for a year,” Runkle said. “They finally finished last fall, and I’ve had a really great year.”

Runkle, who has a degree in art history with a concentration in museum studies and gallery management from UT-Knoxville as well as a Master of Arts in teaching, said an art appreciation class in high school and her mother’s love of the arts inspired her passion for the field.

“My mother was in the arts,” she noted, “That was something we just did — go to art shows and museum openings. Art history was like a balm for my soul.”

She met her husband, John, at UT, where he was studying architecture and then came with him to Sewanee for the first time in 1996, when he got the calling to attend seminary. Like many young spouses who accompany seminarians to the mountain, Runkle did whatever she could to contribute to the family finances: she worked at The Sewanee Mountain Messenger, tutored at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, and even catered.

Through the years, she followed him to new each job posting: Roanoke, Va.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and eventually Arlington, Va., where he worked as a conservator at the Washington National Cathedral. She taught kindergarten, worked in a frame shop, did art consulting, and served as a director of art gallery.

When budget cuts hit the National Cathedral, her husband returned to Sewanee in 2013 as the director of St. Mary’s Sewanee Retreat Center. Runkle finished out her teaching contract in Virginia and then joined him here. Unable to find a teaching job, she went to work for Marjorie Burnett at Mountain Outfitters.

“I learned so much from her about running a woman-owned business,” Runkle said. “She and Tabitha Stines, who runs a Sewanee hair salon, were two who I looked to for advice and encouragement.”

When a local frame shop, Corners, became available five years ago, Runkle was ready to make her move. “I really hit the ground running,” she said. “I bought it on a Monday and opened the next day. I made $27.42 that first day.”

Runkle set three goals for herself: to provide a place for custom framing, a gallery space for local artists, and a place for children to create art.

“Custom framing is my bread and butter, but I wanted to provide a space for artists to show their work,” Runkle said. She strives to support local artists and tries to build an audience of collectors for them. “It’s so fulfilling to show and then sell artists’ works.”

She kicked off her fifth-anniversary year with a digital-arts show in January followed by a collage and metal sculpture show featuring whimsical and thought-provoking art in February.

Upcoming events include an April exhibit by the Nature Journaling Group from the Sewanee Herbarium and the annual summer show featuring the works of students from Martha Keeble’s Sewanee Art Works studio.

The Frame Gallery is located at 12569 Sollace M. Freeman Highway in Sewanee. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Shift Creative Economy Workshop

The Grundy Area Arts Council, in partnership with TN’s South Cumberland Tourism Partnership and SCCF, is hosting a Shift Creative economy workshop from March 31 to April 2. Participants will develop a project that incorporates the arts and promotes economic prosperity.

Discover new ways to think about the power of creativity and challenge your mental models about art, business, community and money. Take the mystery out of business planning. Strengthen your creative muscles and entrepreneurial mindset. Practice design thinking and prototyping.

The Shift Workshop uses hands-on collaboration, design thinking, and business planning to help grow creative communities and economies.

In a multi-day, hands-on workshop, Air Certified Facilitators help small teams learn to use collaboration skills, design thinking, and business planning to create small, locally implementable projects. It’s totally unique in bringing together emerging and professional creatives and business people for a collaborative learning experience.

The workshop will be 4–8 p.m., Friday, March 31, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 1, and 2–6 p.m., Sunday, April 2, at 115 Depot St., Tracy City.

Registration is free and available at <https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shift-workshop-tickets-567390599557;.

Please contact Dominic Gialdini <gialdini97@yahoo.com> for more details.

Nonfood Supply Drive to Benefit the CAC

The Sewanee Civic Association is inviting individuals, local groups and businesses to help collect donations of nonfood items for the Community Action Committee (CAC). This collection will augment the services provided by the CAC food pantry. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits cannot be used to purchase any nonfood items, which includes pet food, cleaning supplies, paper products, household supplies, detergent, menstrual products, diapers, or other personal care items.

This is where you can help. Collect nonfood items March 20–30, and then deliver from 1–3 p.m., Friday, March 31, to the CAC at 216 University Ave., Sewanee. Individuals may also take their nonfood donations between March 20–30 to donation bins located around the University campus, Taylor’s Mercantile, and Regions Bank in Sewanee. For those who wish to make monetary donations, cash or checks are accepted from March 20–30 at Taylor’s Mercantile. Please make checks payable to the CAC. You may also take donations to the CAC, Monday through Friday, 9–11 a.m.

There is also an Amazon Wish List from the Sewanee Community Chest for those who want to order nonfood items. These will be delivered to the CAC. The Amazon link is <https://a.co/ec8cKHc;. The address will be listed as Kerstin Beavers, Sewanee Community Chest, Sewanee, TN 37375.

The CAC will oversee the distribution of the donations to those in need. The CAC is an outreach ministry of the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul, with generous support from the Sewanee Community Chest, other organizations and individuals across the Mountain. For more than 49 years, the CAC has provided food, financial assistance, and educational support for persons in the greater Sewanee community.

This is part of the Sewanee Civic Association Treasures for the Chest initiative, a campaign to help promote community-wide service of giving time, support and donations. Volunteers are needed. To volunteer contact <sewaneecommunitychest@gmail.com>. The event is sponsored by the Community Action Committee, the Office of Civic Engagement, the Sewanee Civic Association, and the Sewanee Community Chest.

Inaugural April Fool Fest at Shenanigans

Shenanigans is hosting an April Fool Fest starting at 4 p.m., Saturday, April, 1. There will be three bands, awesome Louisiana food, games and other April Foolery. This inauguaral event will coincide with the grand reopening of the downstairs dining area.

Advance tickets of $35 gets you all three shows plus a pound of crawfish with corn, potatoes and sausage. Day-of-fest/show price will be $50. Advance tickets are now available at <https://tinyurl.com/3ejbvnnb;. There are a limited number of full festival tickets.

If you are only coming for the boil and afternoon stuff, and not the continued music fest for the night, you don’t need a ticket and will be able to walk up and get crawfish and all the fixin’s and drinks a la carte.

The bands will be playing upstairs, starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are required.

Half-Brass, a Nashville-based, totally legit NOLA-style brass band kicks off the lineup while you gorge on crawfish, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes.

Fast Casual is the latest and greatest student band at Sewanee. They played recently on the big stage upstairs and absolutely killed it. Ready for an awesome version of Blitzkreig Bop?! We’re excited to have these guys as part of our special reopening and inaugural festival.

The Dynamites reawaken the dormant volcano they’ve hibernated in over the last few years. A seven-piece powerhouse deep funk/soul outfit that toured worldwide for 15 years brings their first show out of hiatus to the upstairs stage at Shenanigans. YouTube videos abound, so dial one up to see what original, authentic, heavy soul firepower is in store.

Shenanigans is located at 12595 Sollace M. Freeman Hwy., Sewanee. For more information go to <http://www.shenanigans1974.com;.

Partin Elected Officer of NRECA Board of Directors

Mike Partin, President/CEO of Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative was recently elected to serve as the secretary-treasurer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Board of Directors, the first NRECA board officer from Tennessee in more than 25 years. The election took place during the organization’s Annual Meeting in Nashville with nearly 10,000 delegates in attendance. NRECA represents over 900 co-ops across the country serving over 42 million consumers.

Partin has served on the NRECA board since being elected Tennessee’s representative to the National Board during the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) meeting in 2019. During his time on the board he has served as the voice of the people of Tennessee at the National level, taking his passion for public power and rural America to Washington, D.C.

He has supported the organization’s efforts to strengthen the U.S. power grid, expand rural broadband access and efforts to develop a responsible energy transition plan by creating and maintaining a diversified fuel portfolio that includes a mix of coal, nuclear and natural gas as well as a renewables. Partin has been a vocal advocate in making sure reliability and affordability are at the forefront of the electrification discussions in Washington.

“As our nation moves toward electrification in more and more sectors of the economy it is vital that electric cooperatives have a seat at the table where policy is being made” stated Partin. “I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with our national leadership team as we advance the cause of rural America to ensure that our voices continue to be heard loud and clear.”

Holman, Franklin County Native, New Director of Schools

by Leslie LytleMessenger Staff Writer

“I stand before you humbled. We’re going to progress. We’re going to move. We’re going to work together. It’s about unity,” said Dr. Cary Holman in response to the Franklin County School Board vote at the March 13 meeting selecting Holman as the new director of schools. Commenting on the large turnout at the meeting, Holman said, “Let this not be the only time we show up at board meetings. There is power in our unity.”

The board interviewed the three director-of-school candidates on Feb. 21 and Feb. 23. “All the candidates are very worthy,” said Board Chair Cleijo Walker, prior to the two-stage vote. In the first round of voting, board members indicated their top two choices, in no ranked order. Dr. Roger Alsup received six votes, Holman received seven votes, and Dr. Chris Treadway received three votes. In the second round of voting, between Alsup and Holman, Alsup received three votes and Holman received five.

Currently principal at LaVergne Middle School, Holman has five years teaching experience, 10 years as an assistant principal, and 20 years as a principal. Raised and educated in Franklin County, following college Holman returned to teach at Decherd Elementary, serve as North Middle School assistant principal, and principal at Clark Memorial Elementary, before moving on to administrative roles at other middle Tennessee schools. “I don’t look at things as problems, but opportunities,” Holman said during the board interview. An ardent supporter of listening and teamwork, Holman cited programs at LaVergne where “teachers’ voice set the precedent;” Project Feed which brought together community members, students, teachers, and staff to provide Thanksgiving dinner, over 15 years serving 15,000 meals; and LaVergne’s practice of holding social-emotional learning lessons every Monday and “teacher chats” which engage students in evaluating their progress and “celebrating small victories.” At the close of the interview, pointing out he was a Black male raised in a single parent home, Holman said, “Public education has worked for me … Franklin County worked for me. Why would I not want to come and work for Franklin County?”

Discussing contract negotiations, Vice Chair Lance Williams said salaries in other middle Tennessee districts ranged from $105,000-$177,000, with Franklin County’s current salary at $123,000. Holman currently earns $128,000. “We all know raises are coming,” said Walker. Williams projected, “Realistically, we’re probably looking at $140,000-$145,000 for salary.” In the past, Franklin County typically offered a three-year contract, Williams noted. He suggested the contract include a stipulation the director must repay the moving expenses allocation if the director left before the end of the contract, which occurred when Amie Lonas served as director of schools.

The board approved two resolutions. One resolution amended the Federal Projects budget, adding $60,000 for Career and Technical Education. Jenny Phillips, Franklin County Deputy Finance Director, explained the money came from unspent 2018 Federal Project funds “in a state pot.” The board also approved a six-year contract for a robot to line soccer, football, and baseball fields, cost $11,000 annually. Director of Schools Stanley Bean said the robot would “save on manpower, paint, and time.” The robot, guided by GPS, could line a soccer field in 18 minutes, compared to five hours doing the job manually, Bean stressed.

The board also approved the calendar for the 2024-2025 school year. On the recommendation of the Calendar Committee, the Aug. 2 abbreviated day was changed to Aug. 7 to coincide with homecoming.

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