Monteagle: Million Dollar Sewer Rehab, MGT Grants


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the June 26 meeting the Monteagle Town Council approved moving forward with sewer rehabilitation work funded by $1.67 million in grants. The council also voted to move forward with a million-dollar Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) grant for extending the Mountain Goat Trail in Monteagle and voted to apply for a second million-dollar TDOT grant to complete the trail connection through the town.

The sewer rehabilitation work to stop inflow and infiltration (I&I) of groundwater into the sanitary sewer will be funded by America Rescue Plan and Appalachian Regional System grants and will cost the town “zero,” said Monteagle engineer Travis Wilson. “Specialty contractors” will repair sewer pipe flaws with cured-in-place pipe installation. The trenchless CIPP process cost $65-$70 per foot compared to $250 per foot to dig up the lines for repair, T. Wilson noted. He estimated the project would take a year and hoped as much as possible could be done before winter when I&I increased. I&I increases sewer plant treatment costs. The grant funds would not be sufficient to fix all the flaws, T. Wilson acknowledged. Alderman Dan Sargent praised the groundwork done to identify the flaws and acquire the grants. “I appreciate all the efforts.”

The town also approved $105,000 for sandblasting and painting the water tank near Dubose Conference Center so the bidding process could proceed. The similar rehab work on the tank at the fire department “was complete,” T. Wilson said. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) required maintenance on both tanks.
T. Wilson speculated the maintenance on the second tank would cost less as there were “fewer structural issues.” T. Wilson anticipates the maintenance will be complete before the end of the year, within the timeline set by TDEC.

The million-dollar TDOT grant applied for in 2019 by the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance will complete the portion of the trail from Katherine Avenue to Assembly Avenue, said Alderman Nate Wilson. The grant requires a 5 percent ($50,000) match from the town; the MGTA raised the money to pay the match and will reimburse the town for the expense. The council approved the funding mechanism so the project could proceed. The council also approved a $76,560 contract with St. John Engineering for designing the trail section. St. John Engineering previously designed the section from Dubose Conference Center to Tracy City. The contract with St. John does not include construction, cost yet to be determined. The new I-24 bridge project will incorporate the trail from its current termination at Dollar General to Katherine Avenue. N. Wilson said TDOT might pay part of the construction cost of the Katherine Ave. to Assembly Ave. section in conjunction with the bridge project.

The second million-dollar TDOT grant the council will apply for stipulates the same funding provisions, with the town required to pay 5 percent and the MGTA reimbursing the town for the expense. If received, the funding will complete the trail from Assembly Avenue to DuBose Conference Center.

Updating the council and community on the town planning process to be facilitated by Community by Design, a cost-free program offered by the American Institute of Architects, N. Wilson said the application was ready to be submitted. He also noted the town received a $10,000 Lyndhurst Foundation grant to support acquiring input from community stakeholders in the planning process.

The council approved the 2023-2024 budget on the second reading with Alderwoman Dorraine Parmley again voting, “No.” At the May 30 council meeting and again at the June 26 meeting Parmley questioned the decision not to give employees raises.

The Monteagle July 4 parade begins at 10 a.m. Line up is at 9 a.m. at Cumberland Monuments and the Depot Café. The parade ends at DuBose.

SCCF Spring Grant Awards Ceremony


The South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF) awarded $97,500 in grants to 13 recipients at the 2023 Spring Grant Awards Ceremony June 3 in Sewanee, “Celebration of the Plateau.”

“We want to lift up the people all across the Plateau who are doing so much to cultivate hope and prosperity,” said Tom Sanders, SCCF executive director. “It’s about more than the grants. It’s about what we can accomplish together as a community.”

The 2023 recipients include the following:

BetterFi, a $2,500 grant to spread awareness of their financial assistance programs. BetterFi is an economic justice enterprise and certified community development financial institution that provides affordable installment loans and coaching as a pathway out of debt traps.

Community Action Committee (CAC), a $6,000 grant to develop an education series for clients teaching money management, energy and water conservation strategies, and other sustainable living practices. CAC is an outreach program of the Episcopal Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul, which is dedicated to combating hunger and poverty in rural Appalachia, including in and around Sewanee.

Dependable Laundry, an $8,160 grant to upgrade laundry equipment to increase its efficiency and extend its opportunities to special education students graduating from Grundy County High School. Dependable Laundry provides job and career training for adults with intellectual disabilities and is the only organization in Grundy County to provide post-secondary education for these young adults.

Folks at Home, a $3,000 grant to renovate their public restroom, bringing it into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and providing more equitable access for the disabled in their building. Folks at Home coordinates services to empower individuals to live at home with dignity in the community they love.

Friends of South Cumberland State Park, a $10,000 grant to upscale the Cumberland Forest School, a project that provides nature-based education for children and families in Marion, Franklin, and Grundy Counties. Their goal is to make the program more accessible to community members by increasing scholarships for students in need, purchasing outdoor gear for children, and upgrading their existing space. The mission of the Friends of South Cumberland State Park is to aid and assist the managers and staff of South Cumberland and Savage Gulf State Parks.

Grundy County Saddle Club, an $8,500 grant to install 10 RV camper hookups on their show grounds to provide out-of-town visitors and hikers a safe, tranquil place to stay. The revenue from the RV hookups will provide the club with stable income during non-event days and help the club sustain and grow their programming for local families. The Grundy County Saddle Club is an organization which promotes a fun, family-oriented environment for local residents to participate in horse-related events.

Housing Sewanee, Inc., a $10,000 grant to help cover the cost of an HVAC system and kitchen appliances for a new home in the Sherwood Spring neighborhood. Modeled after Habitat for Humanity, Housing Sewanee, Inc. has worked with community partners since 1993 to build 20 homes. Partners not only build their own homes, but also receive interest free loans and financial counseling to ensure success with home ownership.

MARC, a $3,340 grant to conduct three to four canine clinics in locations on the Plateau. Each clinic will provide free vaccines for canine distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DAPP) as well as microchipping and id tags. MARC is a volunteer organization created to assist people and animals to live more humanely in Marion County, Tennessee, and to ease the burden of too many stray cats and dogs. MARC has expanded its services to the South Cumberland Plateau committees.

Mosaic Recovery Center, a $10,000 grant to improve their kitchen, which will promote a better living experience for their residents as well as provide enhanced job skill training and teach husbands and fathers how to better care for their families. The Mosaic Recovery Center is a men’s Christ-centered residential addiction recovery center equipped to serve 27 residents. The center provides therapy, spiritual care, job skill training, parenting classes, pastoral counseling, and case management.

Sewanee Community Chest, an $8,500 grant to convert the parking lot and exterior of the Depot Building in downtown Sewanee into a trailhead for the Mountain Goat Trail and an information center for the area. The projects will include new paving and striping of the parking lot, benches, signage, and landscaping. The Sewanee Community Chest raises funds annually to meet basic needs such as food, books, elder care, children’s programs and initiatives.

St Mark’s Community Organization, a $10,000 grant to renovate St. Mark’s Community Center building to create a vibrant space that will be a center for community social events and help to preserve the heritage of this historically black community. St. Mark’s Community Organization documents the history of the community center and works to strengthen ties within historic black communities in Franklin County.

Town of Tracy City, a $10,000 grant to install new lights at the old Grundy County High School football field which will increase overall use of the field and allow the addition of sports programs such as soccer. Tracy City is home to the Grundy Youth Jackets, a volunteer-run youth sports league program that has operated for more than 20 years. Its football and cheerleading programs are open to all children ages 4-12 in Grundy County.

Tracy City Free Clinic, a $10,000 grant, to develop a focused health program that will test, provide care plans and medications, and publicize and educate the community on care and prevention of Hepatitis C. The Tracy Free Clinic, which opened a year ago, has already treated hundreds of patients by providing holistic primary and preventative medical care free of charge to uninsured people in Grundy, Marion, and Franklin Counties.

The vision of South Cumberland Community Fund is that the Plateau is a place of hope and prosperity for all its residents and communities, inspired by the Fund’s philanthropic and regional leadership. The Fund does this work by collaborating with the communities of the South Cumberland Plateau to seek common solutions for this place that we call home.

Are You Ready to ‘Fly Like an Eagle’


With the sightings of eagles around Mont Milner Lake, the Fourth of July Committee is proud to announce the theme for the 2023 Sewanee celebration: “Fly Like an Eagle!” The theme can encompass all things “eagle” — patriotism, freedom, independence, and anything and everything in between to celebrate our national bird.

We invite everyone to join us on Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4, to commemorate the formation of the United States of America and celebrate with fun, food, family, and friends.

Start brainstorming your ideas for a celebration like no other with creative parade floats, imaginative cakes, and artistic costumes for you and your dogs. Visit our website <http://www.sewanee4thofjuly.org; to register for the parade, arts and crafts fair, and food truck vending. The schedule details will be coming soon.

Street Dance

The celebration will begin at 6 p.m., Monday, July 3 in Angel Park, with food vendors and all-around family fun. The Street Dance will start at 6 p.m. featuring live music by Twelve Against Nature, a Steely Dan cover band. This event is sponsored by the Sewanee Business Alliance.

Sunrise Yoga

The Sewanee Community Center is hosting a Sunrise Yoga session at 7 a.m. in Manigault Park. The class is free and for any level of yoga ability. Please bring your own mat. The rain location is in Sewanee Community Center.

Annual Monteagle-Sewanee Run/Walk

The 44th Annual Monteagle-Sewanee Run/Walk is at 8 a.m., Tuesday, July 4. Run 6.4 miles to Shenanigans via the Mountain Goat Trail. Walkers may begin at the trailhead at the Dollar General. Celebration and awards at Shenanigans including T-shirts and trophies! There is a $25 fee; register online at the MSSA website or in the MSSA office by Tuesday, June 27, at 10:30 a.m. MSSA gate ticket required.

Flag Raising

Rise and shine on the Fourth of July with local Boy Scout Troop 14 at the 50th annual Flag Raising ceremony. This year the ceremony kicks off at 8 a.m. at Juhan Bridge in Abbo’s Alley with a pot-luck breakfast following in the shared driveway of the Smiths, Gardners, and Beaumont Zuckers. Come join us in this festive celebration and tradition of patriotic song, accompanied by the Sewanee Summer Music Festival Brass Quintet, flag raising, and fellowship. Coffee and juice will be provided by the Friends of Abbo’s Alley (donations encouraged). Attendees are asked to bring a pastry or other breakfast dish to share. Individually wrapped or portioned items are encouraged. For more information, call Margaret Beaumont Zucker at (931) 598-5214.

Cake Contest

Calling all cake bakers! It is time to put your cakes on display. Do you have a favorite cake recipe or a talent for cake decorating? Showcase your skills by entering your cake in the Sewanee Woman’s Club Annual Cake Contest. Entering is free of charge.

The categories are Best Tasting, Best Decorated and Best Representation of Theme. Let your creativity shine with this year’s theme — “Fly Like An Eagle.”

Adult winners of the Best Tasting, Best Decorated, and Best Representation of theme will receive gift cards from Mountain Outfitters, Piggly Wiggly and The Sewanee Inn.

Adult winners of the Best Tasting, Best Decorated, and Best Representation of the Theme will be entered in the Best All-Around Category. The winner of Best All-Around category will receive $100 courtesy of The Sewanee Mountain Messenger and a $50 gift certificate from The Lemon Fair. The baker of the best all-around cake rides in their own car in the parade wearing the famous winner’s hat. And, thanks to Ken Taylor of Taylor’s Mercantile, the baker of the best all-around cake can display the beautiful first place ribbon in the parade.

Youth (under 13) winners will receive $10 from The Sewanee Mountain Messenger and a card for ice cream from The Blue Chair

Visit <sewanee4thofjuly.org> under Event Registration to download and print the registration form and bring it with you on July 4. Or you can register when you bring your cake to the American Legion between 9-9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4. If you want to write a short description of the cake, please bring it with you and we will put it alongside your entry.

Winners will be announced at noon. If you have questions, please email <paulayeatman033@gmail.com>.

Almost World Famous Mutt Show

Enter your favorite pooch in the 2023 Fourth of July Mutt Show! All dogs are welcome to compete — no talent necessary.

The Mutt Show will begin in Manigault Park at 10 a.m.

You will need to register at the table in Manigault Park on the day of the event from 9 to 9:45 a.m.

Ribbons will be awarded for these canine categories: Best Dressed, Owner/Dog Look-Alike, Best Theme, Best Trick and Judges’ Choice. Entrants may register to compete in two categories. The registration fee is $5 per category, and all proceeds will go to the Fourth of July Fireworks. Audience members may contribute to Animal Harbor and MARC. In case of rain, the Mutt Show will take place in the Equestrian Center.

Arts & Crafts Fair

We invite you to participate in our Arts & Crafts Fair beginning at 9 a.m., Tuesday, July 4, in Shoup Park, where you can view the parade without leaving your booth, rain or shine. There is a $25 non-refundable fee and spaces are limited and pre-assigned, so sign up early. Go to <sewanee4thofjuly.org> under Event Registration for more information and for your entry form.

Come spend the day with us, sell your wares, and enjoy the parade and other fun activities.

Food Vendors

Vendors along University Avenue will begin selling food and drinks at 10 a.m., on Tuesday, July 4, and at the fireworks. There will be food vendors during the July 3 Street Dance. The Munchie Map is located on the website <http://www.sewanee4thofjuly.or...;. Come hungry.

Children’s Games

Children’s games are back! Bring the kids to Sewanee’s Central Quad from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to have some fun before the parade.

Tower Bells

At noon, The University of the South Guild of Change-Ringers will perform at Breslin Tower.

Carillon Concert

Raymond Gotko and Joseph Wehmeyer will perform a Carillon Recital at 1 p.m. Bring a chair to All Saints’ Chapel to enjoy the music.

Parade

The parade starts at 2 p.m. Line-up begins at noon on Lake O’Donnell Road, judging begins at 1 p.m. Please enter Lake O’Donnell at the end closest to the airport. Bicycles are to be at Woody’s Bike Shop at 1:30 p.m. for judging. Registration is open on the website <http://www.sewanee4thofjuly.or...;.

Parade Observers

We appreciate your help in making the parade safe and enjoyable for everyone. Please do not park on University Avenue.

If you will be throwing candy, please be sure to throw it as close to the curb as you can. We want to keep our little ones as safe as possible by keeping them from running out into the road. It’s not an easy task, but we can try. Also, if you have a horn or other type of loud noise, please turn it off when your entry reaches the EQB Monument. There are those who do not like to hear the sirens and they will be seated at or near the hospital. Due to insurance precautions, we will once again be asking that you sign a release form. And finally, if you will be riding a motorcycle or 4-wheeler, you will wear your helmet and be very cautious in your driving. Remember, there are children all along the parade route. Your help in this will be greatly appreciated.

Patriotic Celebration

The Sewanee Summer Music Festival is offering a free concert featuring the Sewanee Festival Band. The concert is at 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 4, at Guerry Auditorium.

Aerial Demonstration

Weather permitting, the aerial demonstration will take place after the parade at the Sewanee Airport.

Airplane Rides

Weather permitting, airplane rides will be available for adults and children after the parade until 5:15 pm at the Sewanee Airport. Parents must be present to give written permission for children ages 16 and under to ride. A $30 donation per passenger is requested.

Fireworks Blowout & Food Truck Alley

There will be plenty of food vendors lined up along Breakfield Road, to feed your appetite while you wait for the fireworks to start. Visit the Munchie Map tab on <sewanee4thofjuly.org> to view all the food vendors that will be available. After dark, the Fireworks Show will be at Lake Cheston. There will be a suggested donation of $1 to contribute to next year’s fireworks.

As in the past, this is a walking or biking event for most participants. Please plan accordingly to walk or bike to Lake Cheston. Parking at the Lake will be limited to disabled and special needs only. You will need to display your Disabled Driver Decal or Placard to be allowed to park at Lake Cheston.

The Sewanee Fourth of July is sponsored by the University of the South and the Sewanee Community Chest, with leadership from the Sewanee Fourth of July Committee.

MSSA: Sabato’s Crystal Ball Joins Tennessee’s Seigenthaler to Explore Media’s Role in Politics

The Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle continues its 141st consecutive summer season of enrichment through Sunday, Aug. 6, featuring numerous visiting lecturers who will present morning and evening programs in the Auditorium that are open free of charge to the public; unless otherwise noted, morning lectures begin at 10:45 a.m. and evening lectures at 7:45 p.m. Anyone interested in a full schedule of the Monteagle Assembly’s 2023 program is welcome to pick one up at the Assembly Office (tel. (931) 924-2286), or to peruse the schedule on the Assembly’s website at <www.mssa1882.org>.

Two noted political analysts will share their thoughts about the media’s role in American election outcomes in an evening lecture Thursday, June 29. Larry Sabato, a well-known election prognosticator and professor of political science at the University of Virginia, will join Tennessean John Seigenthaler in conversation at the MSSA Auditorium at 7:45 p.m. that evening.

John Seigenthaler spent 11 years at NBC News, anchoring NBC Nightly News Weekend edition and appearing on Meet the Press, TODAY, and other well-known NBC news programs. He serves on the Freedom Forum board of trustees, the Peabody Awards board of jurors, and a member of the judging committee for the RFK Journalism Awards. He works in public relations and communications consulting in Nashville.

Larry Sabato is one of the nation’s most respected political analysts, appearing regularly on national and international TV news networks, including CNN, BBC, and CNN International. A Rhodes Scholar, Sabato founded and directs the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. He has written and edited two dozen books on American politics. You may know him from Sabato’s Crystal Ball, recognized by the Pew Charitable Trust as the best-rated political predictor. Sabato has won four Emmys for PBS documentaries and is a best-selling New York Times author.

Expect a lively discussion from two expert observers of our political and electoral system.

Our schedule this week also includes something for just about everyone on the Cumberland Plateau! We welcome Wall Street Journal writer Laura Saunders Tuesday morning to talk about “Death and Taxes: When Life’s Two Certainties Collide.” Saunders writes the Tax Report, the oldest column at the Journal and a favorite among readers. Saunders is a Sewanee undergraduate alumna who attended Columbia University for graduate school. Her program takes place in Warren Chapel.

Sewanee professor Chris McDonough presents the weekly Plateau talk & excursion on Wednesday. Through his work with filmmaker Stephen Garrett on the films “Mine 21” and “Ghosts of Lone Rock,” McDonough is committed to preserving and sharing the history of the Plateau. “Mine 21” won the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media in 2019, in addition to its acclaim during its run on PBS channels. McDonough and Garrett are now putting the finishing touches on “Ghosts of Lone Rock,” which looks at the Lone Rock Stockade in Tracy City, one of the largest private prisons that engaged in convict leasing. Sewanee Visiting Assistant Professor of History Camille Westmonth leads an excavation of the site to shed light on the dark history of the practice and place. McDonough will talk about his work collaborating on these two film projects Wednesday morning in Warren Chapel. After lunch, he will lead a visit to the Lone Rock Stockade Archaeology Project site.

Retired lawyer-turned-filmmaker Norman Jetmundsen will screen his film, “UNRIVALED,” about the undefeated 1899 Sewanee football team. A 1976 graduate of Sewanee, Jetmundsen teamed up with his classmate David Crews to create the documentary in 2016. The film, billed as “the ultimate David & Goliath story,” earned a regional Emmy nomination and inclusion in multiple film festivals. After a screening of the documentary Saturday at 7:45 p.m. in the Auditorium, Jetmundsen will host a Q&A about the Sewanee football team’s incredible season and his experiences writing, producing, and directing the film.

Additional events the third week of the Monteagle Assembly’s 2023 season include the following:

Tuesday, June 27, 7:45 p.m., Auditorium – Sewanee Summer Music Festival performance.

Thursday, June 29, 10:45 a.m., Warren Chapel – Liz Norell lectures on “Dispelling Myths About Autism in Adults.”

Friday, June 30, 10:45 a.m., Auditorium – Patrick Dean lectures about “Nature’s Messenger: Mark Catesby and His Adventures in a New World.”

Friday, June 30, 2:30 p.m., Writers’ Grove – Patrick Dean reads from his book, Mark Catesby and His Adventures in a New World. If there’s rain, this will be moved to Warren Chapel.

Saturday, July 1, 2:30 p.m., Writers’ Grove – Norman Jetmundsen reads from “The Soulbane Illusion.”

The Mission of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly is to be a welcoming community of Christian faith where people gather to engage in spiritual growth and renewal, lifelong inquiry and learning, recreational, and cultural enrichment, while being good stewards of our natural resources and our Assembly heritage.

School of Letters Faculty Reading with Francis and Taylor


The Sewanee School of Letters continues its series of events this week with a faculty reading at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 28, in Naylor Auditorium with Vievee Francis and Justin Taylor. A reception follows in Gailor Atrium. The public is invited.

Vievee Francis is an American poet and educator. She is the author of three poetry collections: “Blue-Tail Fly” (2006), “Horse in the Dark” (2012), which won the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize and “Forest Primeval” (2017), which won the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award. She has a collection forthcoming in 2023, titled “The Shared World.”

Francis is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Prize, awarded by the Sewanee Review to a distinguished poet. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award and the Rona Jaffe Award. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Kresge Foundation. She earned her BA from Fisk University and her MFA from the University of Michigan. Her work has also appeared in Poetry, Best American Poetry, Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, and many others. She is currently an associate editor for Callaloo and is an associate professor at Dartmouth College.

Justin Taylor is the author of the memoir “Riding with the Ghost,” published by Random House in 2020. He is also the author of three books of fiction: the story collections “Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever” (2010), “Flings” (2014), the novel “The Gospel of Anarchy” (2011), and the forthcoming book titled “REBOOT” (2024). His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, BOMB, the Sewanee Review, and Bookforum, as well as many others.

Taylor received his BA from the University of Florida, and his MFA from The New School. He has taught writing at the graduate and undergraduate level in programs across the U.S., including Columbia University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Montana. He is the current director of the School of Letters. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

At 1 p.m., Friday, June 30, in the Torian Room of duPont Library, there will be a Reading and Craft Talk with David Haskell.

David Haskell is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist author. His latest book, “Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction” (2022), is an Editor’s Choice at the New York Times, explores the story of sound on Earth. His other books include “The Song of Trees” and “The Forest Unseen.”

The School of Letters offers an MFA in creative writing under the directorship of Justin Taylor. Please visit the School’s website <letters.sewanee.edu> for more information on the program.

Bridge Refugee Service to Present at Lunch and Learn


Stephanie Livigni, Executive Director of Bridge Refugee Services, is this month’s speaker at Sewanee’s Lunch and Learn program held in Convocation Hall on Monday, June 26, from noon to 1 p.m. The session is open to the community and to alumni. For those not able to attend in person, the meeting will be made available via Zoom. Registration ($10 per session or $30 for the year) can be made in person at the event.

Bridge Refugee Services was founded in Knoxville in 1982 and a branch office was opened in Chattanooga in 1996. In the past 10 years, Bridge has resettled more than 2,400 refugees from Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East. Over the past year a significant portion of its activity has been resettling Ukrainian war refugees (parolees in government jargon) in East Tennessee.

Once refugees have been approved by the various federal agencies for travel, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration program coordinates admission of refugees and their allocation to specific cities with local resettlement agencies—such as Bridge. This process happens through the auspices of nine national agencies, part of the unique public-private partnership that provides services for refugees across the country. Bridge partners with Episcopal Migration Ministries in this reception and placement process.

Sewanee has existing ties with Bridge via internships in its Chattanooga office, and last year the Rotary Club of Monteagle-Sewanee arranged a $25,000 grant from the Rotary Foundation to help Bridge assist Ukrainian war parolees resettle in East Tennessee.

SUD: Unexpected Expenses; Recouping Expenses


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the June 20 meeting, the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners weighed decisions about multiple unbudgeted expenses. The board voted to ask the University to reimburse the utility for a portion of the cost SUD incurred for narrowing Highway 41A, a University initiated project undertaken by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The board approved SUD manager Ben Beavers’ recommendation to purchase a 2023 Hustler Super Z mower, cost $14,282.67, to replace the nearly identical mower purchased in 2007. SUD put a new motor in the mower in 2012, but now the clutch had gone out, and the mower had reached the end of serviceable life. Beavers preferred the Hustler over the other state contract listed brand, John Deere, for the larger engine, although the Hustler was slightly more costly by $1,100. “The mower we have now has been one of the best ones we’ve had,” Beavers said recommending the purchase and citing the extensive amount of mowing required at the dams and physical plant.

The board also addressed purchasing a new accounting and billing software package. As of January, the current provider United will no longer offer the platform SUD uses, and while they offer a new platform. Beavers conceded, “The office staff has not been pleased with the service.” Beavers researched providers and from a list of seven narrowed the choices down to two, CUSI and Ampstun. Beavers recommended Ampstun which over five years would cost $350 less per month, although he stressed the CUSI platform was far more “interface friendly” to use when responding to customers inquiries about billing data. “The ladies in the office asked that I represent their choice [CUSI],” Beavers said.

“I’m inclined to lean toward the office staff’s choice,” said Board President Charlie Smith. Commissioner Johnny Hughes concurred, observing the cost difference only amounted to $4 per customer per year.

The board voted to purchase the CUSI software package.

Beavers also called the board’s attention to an upcoming decision about repairing or replacing SUD’s Ford service truck which broke down earlier that week. The dealership said the truck needed a new motor, cost $13,000. Beavers questioned the assessment and suspected the problem was a blown head gasket. He will visit the dealership and inspect the truck himself before making a recommendation. “It comes down to how much are we willing to spend versus how much service life is left in the truck,” Beavers said.

Reporting on finances, Beavers alerted the board to an increase in chemical costs in December and again in March which has resulted in water-production costs being four percent over budget. “I’m not overly concerned at this point,” Beavers said, although he anticipates production costs will be four to five percent over budget for the year. He attributed the increase to the chemicals being a petroleum-based product.

SUD’s final cost for the narrowing of the Highway 41A project was $254,187, almost half what TDOT budgeted, Beavers said. “We earned our paycheck,” he insisted, commenting on SUD’s careful attention to minimizing costs. Based on a verbal agreement in the summer of 2020, the University agreed to reimburse SUD for 80 percent of the cost. Beavers will draft a letter to the University requesting reimbursement of $203,349 — 80 percent of the final cost to SUD.

Franklin County School Board Honors Stanley Bean


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

The Franklin County School Board presented Stanley Bean with a plaque honoring him for his long career as an educator at the June 12 meeting, Bean’s final meeting as director of schools. At the end of the month, Bean will retire after 43 years as an educator, 41 of those in the Franklin County schools where he also served as a teacher, coach and principal. Bean came on board as director of schools in July 2017.

“You’ve accomplished a lot as director of schools,” said Board Chair Cleijo Walker. “You oversaw the building of two new middle schools, new programming, addressed a lot of maintenance issues, roofing, lighting, HVAC, things that needed upgraded for years.”

The inscription on the plaque read: “Thank you for believing in students, guiding through example, leaving an indelible mark on the future and making a difference in so many lives.”

“My memory is too good,” Bean said, recalling being a first grader at Mary Sharp Elementary School eating lunch in the same room where the board now meets. Teary-eyed, he described the other first grader he sat with at lunch who every day brought a bologna and white bread sandwich from home, in the days before free lunch, when that was all the child’s family could afford. Bean praised the board, “You’ve all been great to work with. I’ve been very fortunate.” His plans for the future speak to his passion for and dedication to being an educator. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I looked for a part-time job, had a few calls. I’m going to wait. I think I’m going to retire,” Bean paused, “for a while.”

During the business portion of the meeting, Human Resources Supervisor Linda Foster reported on hiring for the coming school year. Foster said the school district recently signed contracts with 19 new teachers, and 14 openings remained. “We’re desperately trying to get a counselor at all the elementary school and maintain what we have at the high schools and middle schools,” Foster said. That day the district interviewed two counselors for elementary school positions and hired one of them. Half the open classified employee positions have been filled.

In her “legislative update” reporting on state government education initiatives, board member Sarah Marhevsky stressed the importance of teacher salaries remaining competitive in view of recent state legislation mandating a teacher starting salary of at least $50,000 by the beginning of the 2026-2027 school year. “The starting salary for [Franklin County] next year is $44,500,” Marhevsky said. “We are going to definitely need to increase our salary scale if we want to be anywhere but at the bottom, and we want to continue to hire teachers and fill the openings we have.”

The board will hold a workshop July 6 to review the 23 policy changes recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association.

School board meetings are now live streamed on the Franklin County Schools YouTube channel. [Franklin County Schools, TN - YouTube].

Artist Lectures at Shakerag Workshops

Shakerag Workshops’ visiting artist faculty offers short lectures each evening, Monday through Thursday at 7:15 p.m., in McCrory Hall on the campus of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. Following the lecture on Wednesday, June 21, The Copper Fox Gallery, of Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., is sponsoring a reception in the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Gallery celebrating our Shakerag Faculty Exhibition. Please join us for nightly artist talks and reception.

Monday, June 19: Ana Maria Hernando, Emily and Sarah Parkinson

Tuesday, June 20: Maggie Jaszczak, Nathalie Miebach, Susan Webster

Wednesday, June 21: Sonya Philip, Tom Jaszczak, Catherine Cross Tsintzos

Thursday, June 22: Amy Tavern, Stuart Kestenbaum

Shakerag Workshops offers weeklong studio art workshops for adults in June on the campus of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. Visit us at <shakerag.org>.

School of Letters Faculty Reading with Chapman and Subramanian


The Sewanee School of Letters continues its series of events this week with a faculty reading at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 21, in Naylor Auditorium with Ryan Chapman and Meera Subramanian. A reception follows in Gailor Atrium. The public is invited. This event is co-sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Ryan Chapman is the author of “Riots I Have Known” (Simon & Schuster), which was longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and named a best book of 2019 by Electric Literature and The Marshall Project. NPR praised it as “one of the smartest—and best—novels of the year,” and The Washington Post called it “a compact cluster bomb of satire that kills widely and indiscriminately.” He’s published criticism and short humor pieces at The New Yorker, The Guardian, GQ, Bookforum, BOMB, McSweeney’s, and The Believer, and interviewed writers and visual artists for Guernica, Esquire, Frieze, and elsewhere. He has guest-lectured at The New School, Bard College, and Columbia University, and held residencies at Vermont Studio Center, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and the James Merrill House. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound, he currently lives in Kingston, New York.

Meera Subramanian is an award-winning independent journalist whose work has been published in national and international publications including the New York Times, New Yorker, Nature, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Orion, where she serves as a contributing editor. Her book “A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka,” published by PublicAffairs in 2015, was short-listed for the 2016 Orion Book Award, and she is currently collaborating with illustrator Danica Novgorodoff on a YA nonfiction graphic novel about youth climate activists. She has explored the disappearance of India’s vultures, questioned the “Good Anthropocene,” sought out fragile shorelines, and investigated perceptions of climate change among conservative Americans. Her essays have been anthologized in the “Best American Science and Nature Writing” (2022 and 2015), “Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones that Haunt Us” (Algonquin 2022), “The World As We Knew It: Dispatches From a Changing Climate” (Catapult 2022), and “Solastalgia: An Anthology of Emotion in a Disappearing World” (The University of Virginia Press 2023), as well as multiple editions of “The Best Women’s Travel Writing.” A National Geographic Explorer, she has also served as an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellow (2016-17), Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow (2013-14), and the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities at Princeton University (2019-2020). She earned an MA in Journalism from New York University and is currently a co-director of the Religion & Environment Story Project. She is based on a glacial moraine that belongs to the People of the Dawn, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, in what is now called Massachusetts.

The School of Letters offers an MFA in creative writing under the directorship of Justin Taylor. Please visit the School’s website <letters.sewanee.edu> for more information on the program.

MARC to Host Free Clinics for Dogs


MARC is proud to announce that we have been awarded a grant from South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF) to help dogs on our part of the Cumberland Plateau. MARC will be holding three to four free clinics to administer to dogs a shot vaccine to help protect them from distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, & parvo; microchip them and make ID tags for them to help return stray dogs to their people.

People will also be able to sign up to get their pets spayed or neutered (fixed).

Rain or shine, MARC will be there.

Please keep your dogs on leashes and under control.

Our first free clinic will be Saturday, June 24, at Coalmont Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about MARC go to http://marc4change.org

MSSA: Bible Week, Frederick Douglass, Marcus Hummon


The Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle continues its 141st consecutive summer season of enrichment through Sunday, Aug. 6, featuring numerous visiting lecturers who will present morning and evening programs in the Auditorium that are open free of charge to the public; unless otherwise noted, morning lectures begin at 10:45 a.m. and evening lectures at 7:45 p.m. Anyone interested in a full schedule of the Monteagle Assembly’s 2023 program is welcome to pick one up at the Assembly Office (tel. (931) 924-2286), or to peruse the schedule on the Assembly’s website at <www.mssa1882.org>.

Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele joins us this week as the Wayne & Virginia Jervis Bible Week lecturer. Since 2017, Steele has served as the co-executive director of the Highlander Research Education Center, the organization formerly known as the Highlander Folk Center. Highlander’s historic contributions to civil rights organizing and education continue today; they “work with people fighting for justice, equality and sustainability, supporting their efforts to take collective action to shape their own destiny,” according to their web site. Steele will lecture Tuesday-Friday mornings in Warren Chapel, drawing from his experiences at Highlander and elsewhere.

Grammy winner and 2019 inductee into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Marcus Hummon will present twice this week, on two very different topics. On Thursday evening, Hummon will share what he learned in writing and staging his most recent musical, American Prophet, which focuses on Frederick Douglass’ life. The musical premiered in Washington, D.C., last summer to sold-out audiences, and it went on to win the Edgerton Award and was nominated for six Helen Hayes Awards. His lecture is “The Making of American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words,” takes place at 7:45 p.m. Thursday in the Auditorium.

But that’s not all! Hummon’s career has spanned songwriting, musical performance, playwriting, and writing. Among his many notable artistic contributions are co-writing credits with Rascal Flatts, the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Winona Judd, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. On Friday evening, Hummon will perform with songs and stories from his own career at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Additional events include the following:

Monday, June 19, 6 p.m., Chapel Porch – Dinner on the Chapel Grounds, followed by Twilight Prayers. Bring a side dish to share and get to know others at the Assembly.

Tuesday, June 20, 2:30-5 p.m., Shady Dell – Canvas Floor Cloths workshop, led by Colby Henderson Black and Bradley Moody-Mims. Advance registration required at MSSA office; $30 class fee + gate ticket required to participate. Continues through Thursday.

Friday, June 23, 2:30 p.m., Writers’ Grove – Don Welch reads from his book, Opening Thoughts on Everyday Life: Digging Deeper, Looking Farther. If there’s rain, this will be moved to Warren Chapel.

The Mission of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly is to be a welcoming community of Christian faith where people gather to engage in spiritual growth and renewal, lifelong inquiry and learning, recreational, and cultural enrichment, while being good stewards of our natural resources and our Assembly heritage.

Woman’s Association to Host 59th Annual Cottage Tour & Bazaar


The Woman’s Association of the MSSA (Monteagle Sunday School Assembly) will host its 59th Annual Cottage Tour & Bazaar on Friday, July 21. The much-anticipated event will include tours of five representative cottages; a self-guided tour of historic buildings; the always-popular bazaar with fine art, jewelry, plus home décor and plants, jewelry, clothing and art much more; The Butterfly Boutique (resale); lunch options from La Bella Pearl’s Restaurant; and the always popular Bake Sale.

The annual event is designed to share with the public the Assembly’s unique history and mission, to showcase its representative turn-of-the-century cottages and structures, and to highlight the Chautauqua Movement and the Assembly’s association with the Chautauqua Network. This year’s tour will feature five distinctive cottages: Showboat, Southern Comfort, Doctor’s Inn, The Nest, and Lagniappe, The Bazaar, open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., welcomes old favorites and several new vendors who will bring local arts and crafts and splurge-worthy fine art and jewelry as well as paper, ceramics, art, jewelry, clothes, plants, leather and more from more than 30 selected local and regional artisans. The nearby Butterfly Boutique sale of donated items from members and friends is a bargain-lover’s dream held in the Writers’ Grove located near the Woman’s Association Winfield House.

At 10:45 a.m., guests are invited to attend a special presentation by Margot Shaw. Titled “Living Floral,” Shaw’s book and accompanying presentation is brimming with top stylemakers’ and designers’ innovative floral design ideas to enliven the home. From interior designers Charlotte Moss, Suzanne Rheinstein, and Bunny Williams, and event designer Tara Guerard to floral and garden experts Sybil Sylvester and P. Allen Smith and culinary consultant Alex Hitz, these luminaries impart their personal botanical point of view. They show how to incorporate flowers in home decor and present numerous ways to entertain with flair. For this inspirational yet instructive book, interior designers illustrate how eclectic furnishings work well with floral and botanical accents in fabric, wallpaper, artwork, and accessories to shape chic indoor spaces. Living Floral will resonate with those who appreciate the beauty and everyday luxury of flowers.

At the Harton Dining Hall, La Bella Pearl’s will offer a buffet (available 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). Pre-ordered, pre-paid box lunches can be picked up 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and enjoyed in one of the Assembly’s green spaces.

Guests will also enjoy the annual bake sale where the Assembly’s best cooks bring their sweet and savory specialties, and the Snack Shop will be open for popcorn, chilled candy bars, bottled water and souvenir T-shirts.

Be sure to stop in at cottage #116, The Gallery, a mainstay of the Assembly history and a shopping must during any visit. In addition to art and gifts, the Gallery is one of a select few to carry award-winning McCarty Pottery. Created by Assembly members, the late Lee and Pup McCarty, Mississippi-based McCartys has earned international recognition.

Advance tour tickets ($20, $25 day of) and box lunches ($20) must be reserved and paid for in advance on the MSSA website <MSSA1882.org> using PayPal or by calling the MSSA office at (931) 924-2286 or by stopping by the office. Parking passes ($5 per car) can be purchased on the day of the tour at the North Gate entrance.

Schedule of events:

Bazaar: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Butterfly Boutique and bake sale: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lecture by Margot Shaw, “Living Floral”: 10:45 a.m.

Cottage tours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Harton Dining Hall: Buffet available 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Box lunch pickup 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Registration Open for Sewanee Fourth of July Activities

Are You Ready to ‘Fly Like an Eagle’

With the sightings of eagles around Mont Milner Lake, the Fourth of July Committee is proud to announce the theme for the 2023 Sewanee celebration: “Fly Like an Eagle!” The theme can encompass all things “eagle” – patriotism, freedom, independence, and anything and everything in between to celebrate our national bird.

We invite everyone to join us on Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4, to commemorate the formation of the United States of America and celebrate with fun, food, family, and friends.

Start brainstorming your ideas for a celebration like no other with creative parade floats, imaginative cakes, and artistic costumes for you and your dogs. Visit our website <http://www.sewanee4thofjuly.org; to register for the parade, arts and crafts fair, and food truck vending. The schedule details will be coming soon.

Grand Marshals Announced for Sewanee Fourth of July


Sewanee’s Fourth of July Parade Committee is proud to announce that Ken and Lynn Taylor are the Grand Marshals for 2023!

No strangers to the community, Ken and Lynn Taylor have been an active part of civic life for more than three decades.

Lynn graduated from Hixson High School in Chattanooga. She pursued a career as a Registered Radiologic Technologist. She and Ken met at the Cookeville General Hospital where she worked in the X-Ray department, and he was an orderly.

Ken graduated from Franklin County High School in 1972, and went on to pursue a degree in chemistry from Tennessee Tech. After being denied admission to medical school in 1976, Taylor went on to get his masters in microbiology. He had worked for years to make his dream of becoming a physician a reality, but after working for 18 months in a lab studying tuberculosis bacteria, he turned down an offer from Vanderbilt. He wanted to come home.

Ken and Lynn had stayed in touch through the years. She moved to the mountain in 1986. Lynn applied for a position as a CT technologist at the Winchester Southern Tennessee Medical Center, and soon after was named Director of Radiology there. She then went to work at an orthopedic surgeon’s office. Ken and Lynn were married in 1988.

Before opening Taylor’s Mercantile, Ken got his start as a small business entrepreneur selling his greenhouse-raised plants on the steps in front of the University Bookstore on campus. He had built a greenhouse at his mother’s house in Jump Off, in 1981. Ken and his mother, Evelyn, bought Hamilton Hardware and Electric in 1984 and Taylor’s Mercantile began. Both were working at Emerald-Hodgson Hospital at the time.

Lynn retired from the medical field in 2015 to help her husband full-time in the family business.

Ken and Lynn are active members at the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul, having served on the vestry. Lynn is currently the senior warden and has been active with Stephen Ministries.

Ken has served on the boards of the Sewanee Civic Association, Folks at Home, Contact Lifeline, and is a member of the Sewanee Business Alliance and St. Augustine’s Guild. He has been a member of the University’s Special Events Team for the last 15 years.

Their favorite part of living here is the support from the community. Taylor’s Mercantile will soon celebrate 40 years in business. Their reasoning behind being the longest continuous business owners in Sewanee’s history is the incredible sense of “Ecce Quam Bonum” that characterizes the community. The duo’s dedication and talents are evident in community events such as receptions, weddings and special occasions. The annual Greening of the Chapel is the highlight of each year for them, helping to bring the community together to prepare for Lessons and Carols.

Ken and Lynn still live out in the Jump Off community with their three dogs. Their daughter, Anna Lee, lives in Chattanooga. They are honored to be selected as grand marshals for the Sewanee Fourth of July parade. They are looking forward to seeing old friends and to represent the whole community in such a wonderful small town tradition.

Please join us on Tuesday, July 4, to celebrate Ken and Lynn, two of Sewanee’s finest!

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