Arcadia at Sewanee Engages ARCH Consultants, Ltd.

Arcadia at Sewanee, the not-for-profit organization working to establish a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Sewanee, has engaged ARCH Consultants, Ltd., of Chicago to assess the feasibility of developing independent living, assisted living, and memory care units on a 13.2-acre site between Alabama Avenue and Kennerly Road.

Over the past 18 months Arcadia at Sewanee has been very active in its effort to fulfill its mission: “To serve older adults in a residential living community with services that: encourage active, healthy living; respect each individual's dignity, rights and independence; value ongoing educational, artistic and community service offerings; and offer opportunities for intergenerational relationships.”

Highlights include the following:

In the Spring of 2022, Arcadia introduced Blakeford Senior Life’s aging-in-place program, LiveWell on the Mountain, to the Sewanee and Monteagle communities. The program was officially launched in November 2022 with the enrollment of ten community members, and it continues to expand membership.

In a parallel effort, Arcadia engaged ProMatura, a nationally recognized firm, to perform a survey to gauge the demand for a CCRC in Sewanee. The results, which were made available in early 2023, revealed strong interest from alumni and area residents that led ProMatura to recommend that Arcadia pursue this effort, contact a developer, and seek financing.

Over the course of the summer of 2023, Arcadia Board members met with Blakeford Senior Life executives and with representatives of HJ Sims, an investment banking firm actively involved in financing retirement facilities, to discuss the results of the survey and steps to be taken to maximize the success of such a development.

Concurrently Arcadia engaged the services of an engineering consultant to determine the suitability of three potential sites for a retirement facility. Two of the three sites were found to be suitable.

Meetings with HJ Sims and Blakeford also led Arcadia to engage the services of ARCH Consultants of Chicago, IL, to evaluate the Alabama Avenue site and recommend a plan for its development. ARCH Consultants works primarily with faith-based CCRC’s and has worked jointly with HJ Sims on several projects.

Conclusions drawn to date by Arcadia’s Board of Directors include:

The demand from area residents, current and retired University staff, and from University alumni, warrant the continued effort to develop a CCRC in Sewanee.

Feedback from consultants, primarily HJ Sims, indicates that the project should not be overly reliant on alumni relocating to Sewanee for their retirement years: it should be driven primarily by local area demand.

Pricing of the retirement units should be commensurate with real estate prices in the area, not higher.

Support and involvement from the University is very important.

A multigenerational facility should be considered.

The CCRC should be built with convenient access to the University campus and to the Village.

To minimize the financial risk associated with the development of a CCRC, the project should be phased in accordance with a master plan that would first include the development of independent living units tied to Sewanee’s unique setting. Later phases would entail the development of assisted living and memory care facilities.

The envisioned CCRC would be an economically diverse community.

Next steps:

ARCH Consultants will take about 3-4 months to develop their recommendations.

They will focus their effort on a 13.2-acre site between Alabama Avenue and Kennerly Road. This is not the only possible site but, as of now, it seems to be the one best suited for consideration because of existing infrastructure, access to campus via roads and the new Heritage Trail, proximity to the Village (including the possibility of a walking bridge), and ease of access from Highway 41-A.

Costs: Arcadia has covered the costs for all the above efforts, and it has raised sufficient funds to cover the initial ARCH Consultants fee. Arcadia anticipates that, based on the ARCH Consultants’ conclusions, it will have to raise additional contributions and arrange long-term financing for the project.

Arcadia Board members and ARCH Consultants representatives will work closely with the University, neighboring leaseholders, and the community at large in developing these plans. Of vital importance is the relationship with the St. Mark’s Community to preserve its identity and significance to Sewanee.

Martin to Present Lecture on the Beginning of School Desegregation in the U.S.

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Naylor Auditorium, historian Rachel Martin will speak about the nation’s first school desegregation crisis.

In 1956, Anderson County, Tennessee became the first southern school district to desegregate in response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. National media, and a bizarre cast of outside agitators, converged on the small East Tennessee community as 12 Black students enrolled in Clinton High School and the white community responded — at first calmly, then violently. Rachel Martin — who holds a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina and also studied nonfiction writing at the Sewanee School of Letters — has interviewed the survivors of the experience and tells their stories in her new book, “A Most Tolerant Little Town.” Named by both the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution an essential book for the summer just past, Martin’s book was also named among the “Best Books of 2023” by The New Yorker. “Rachel Martin’s masterful narrative will stir and break your heart,” says Putlitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch.

A native Tennessean, Martin is also the author of “Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story.” Her talk is sponsored by the Mellon-funded Center for Southern Studies, the Roberson Project, and the University Lectures Committee, and is open to all.

Monteagle Approves Employee Bonuses

The Monteagle City Council meet in regular session on Sept. 25, and approved several ordinances including employee bonuses.

Ordinance 17-23 was approved. The council accepted the planning commission’s recommendation to allow new truck stops only with review by and permission of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

On second reading, ordinance 18-23 was approved. The council authorized repair to the town’s bucket truck and replacement of the stolen utility trailer.

Ordinance 19-23 was approved on second reading to give Monteagle City employees bonuses. Employees will likely receive the bonus in November. Employees will also receive a Christmas bonus.

Alderman Nate Wilson asked about status of the planning commission’s decision prohibiting 600 square feet residences in R-2 and R-3 residential, making 800 square feet the minimum in all residential zones. Mayor Greg Maloof said this amendment had not come back before the council.

From the committee reports, William Raline, police chief, reported there were 372 dispatch calls for the month. Twenty-eight reports were taken by department. There were 51 citations written and a total of 168 traffic stops. Total number of arrests were seven. He reminded everyone to lock their doors and lock their cars as theft typically goes up this time of year, nationally.

He said there were also reports of motorcycles and side-by-sides using the riding and biking trails. As a reminder, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the Mountain Goat Trail, to ensure the safety of walkers and bikers.

N. Wilson clarified that Class I and Class II electric bikes were allowed on the Mountain Goat Trail and any recreational trail.

The board approved the lowest bid of $353,750 on the second water tank rehabilitation at DuBose, on first reading.

The first reading of Ordinance 20-23 to replace a truck for the street department was approved.

People and businesses are also reminded not to put grease down their sink, as it clogs the sewer pipes. Commercial properties should have grease traps installed said engineer Travis Wilson. There is a plan in place to educate the public to not dispose of grease down sinks. Grease gets trapped in the sewer lines he said, and the only way to fix it is to dig up the sewer lines.

Several business permits were accepted including Cool Springs Collision to purchase Monteagle Tire and Auto, and Echo E-Bikes LLC to have an e-bike store at Country Mart.

Brett Del Blaso, representing Cove Creek Farm, said a proposed outdoor music festival and a 5k and 10k races would be September 2024. “It would take support from the town to have such an event,” he said. They expect 5,000 to 10,000 people to attend the one-day event. There would be no expense to the town.

Parking would be on-site and Del Blaso said he has been in touch with TDOT to help with the traffic flow from I-24 and on Hwy. 41A.

There will be ticket sales to get into the event and access to all music shows. The preferred date is Sept. 28, and the alternative date is Sept. 21.

Organizers will approach local restaurants first to provide food and concessions. Selling alcohol is also being considered. They would have insurance and name the town as additional insured. They will report to the city council on monthly basis on the planning of the event.—reported by KG Beavers

SUD Discusses Billing Transition and Applications for Sewer and Water

The Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissionersmet on Sept. 26, to discuss the billing and accounting transition and to consider two applications for sewer and water availability.

SUD Manager Ben Beavers said that they have a training version of the customer service and asset management program so they will be able to use and get familiar with the program before it is implemented. He reported some of the conversion from the old software to the new software was not transferred correctly and they would be doing some training on that by November. As reported in the July 21, 2023 issue the new CUSI billing software will be far more customer friendly, and customers will be able to change email and other account information, sign up for continual credit-card billing, check on their annual water usage and more. CUSI will make a prototype portal available so customers can interact with the software’s features before SUD implements the new platform, expected in January 2024.

Beavers said they now have QuickBooks installed and all the accounts receivable and payable were exported correctly from the old billing system. Vendor and payroll information is also correct.

Beavers will be asking for proposals from local CPAs to do the annual audit and to also be an accounting assistant. He stressed the auditor, and the accounting assistant must be separate, as one firm could not do both. He hopes to have the finished proposals in by the next meeting for the board to consider.

Two applications for water and sewer availability were received. One was for a development on St. Andrew’s-Sewanee property across the highway from the school, where the developer wants to build 115 housing units. The other application is for the University of the South apartment complex on Hwy. 41A, which would include 48 apartments for University faculty and staff.

For developers to go to secure financing for the projects, they must have a guarantee that there is water and sewer capacity for the projects. Beavers said the developers must put in the water and sewer infrastructure based on SUD’s specifications.

“If you deliver the infrastructure like we specify, we say we have the capacity to take on the extra water and sewer, so they can start the project,” Beavers said.

“We all know that plans can change but once the amount of water and sewer is set that has to stay the same,” Beavers said.

Beavers said these two projects were doable, but it would curtail SUD from providing water and sewer to other new projects, such as one the size of the Wiggins Creek development.

To meet increase demand, if SUD does nothing to the sewer system, they would be at 82 percent capacity. Beavers said there is a milestone at 80 percent capacity: you must come up with a plan to meet additional demand. Beavers said that SUD is not getting the flow that they should at the water plant, and they would have to be careful with approving new projects until they come up with a newer plan to meet additional demand.

Both applications for sewer and water availability were approved by the board.

The upcoming election for a seat on the SUD Board of Commissioners is scheduled for January 2024. Board President Charlie Smith is up for reelection. Because of a change in the law governing utility elections by the Tennessee State Legislature, the utility district board members are no longer term limited. The commissioner would still have to stand for election. Smith will be running again.

Anyone interested in running for the commissioner seat should contact a board commissioner. The board members are Doug Cameron, Johnny Hughes, Donnie McBee, Charlie Smith, and Clay Yeatman. The SUD Board will present a slate at the December meeting. Anyone who wishes to be considered after that needs to have a petition signed by 10 customers in good standing. Voting takes place in January 2024.

The next meeting will be at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the board office.—reported by KG Beavers

Three Honorary Degrees to be Presented at Convocation

The University’s Fall Convocation will be at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, in All Saints’ Chapel. Three honorary degrees will be presented, awards and honors will be announced, and new members will be inducted into the Order of the Gown.

Noted architect Malcolm Holzman, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, C'69, and the country's 19th poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey will be awarded honorary degrees. Bishop Robinson will give the convocation address.

V. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, becoming the church’s first openly gay and partnered bishop. After a decade serving as bishop of New Hampshire, he worked as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, speaking and writing on national and international LGBT issues, race, poverty, and immigration reform. Most recently, he served as vice president of religion and senior pastor at Chautauqua Institution in western New York. In his retirement, he is serving as a part of the worship team at the Washington National Cathedral. Robinson graduated from Sewanee in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in history. In 1973, he earned a master of divinity degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York. In 1975, he moved to New Hampshire, where he founded Sign of the Dove Retreat Center — which includes a residential summer camp for girls designed to instill participants with a renewed sense of hope and stronger sense of self. In the early 1980s, he helped create the Episcopal Youth Event, a gathering of high-schoolers from around the world, which continues to this day. He has done AIDS work around the world and authored three AIDS curricula. Bishop Robinson has been particularly active in the area of full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, and other marginalized communities, and has spoken and lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights. His first book, “In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God,” was published in 2008. In 2012, he authored “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage,” contributing to the national debate about marriage equality. He has been the subject of two feature-length documentaries: “For the Bible Tells Me So,” which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and “Love Free or Die,” which also premiered at Sundance, in 2012, winning the Special Jury Prize.

Malcolm Holzman is an American architect who practices in New York City. He is a partner of Steinberg Hart and was founding partner of Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. Holzman’s buildings and interiors are acknowledged for their evocative nature, technical vision, and singular character. He has completed 140 commissions in 32 states, including Sewanee’s McClurg Dining Hall — which was named one of 15 best-designed university dining halls by Architectural Digest in 2022. His work shows a diversity of design solutions, reflecting a wide range of public building types and the application of materials unique to the region of each project. In addition to enhancing the built environment, he contributes to national design publications. He authored “A Material Life: Adventures and Discoveries in Materials Research,” and “Stone Work: Designing with Stone.” He also co-authored “Theaters 1 and Theaters 2: Partnerships in Facility Use,” in addition to contributing to two firm monographs and spearheading research for “Movie Palaces: Renaissance” and “Reuse and Reusing Railroad Stations.” Holzman is a member of the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. Over his years of practice, he has been widely recognized, earning a place in the Interior Design Hall of Fame and the Honor Society of Architecture and the Allied Arts. He received the Pratt Institute Distinguished Alumni Award, the Gold Medal from Tau Sigma Delta, the first James Daniel Bybee Prize, the Bruner Prize, 10 national American Institute of Architects (AIA) project awards in addition to 100 single project awards, and the AIA Firm Award.

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th poet laureate of the United States (2012-2014) while also serving as the poet laureate of her home state of Mississippi (2012-2016). She is the author of five collections of poetry, including “Native Guard” (2006) — for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize—and, most recently, “Monument: Poems New and Selected” (2018); a book of nonfiction, “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast” (2010); and a memoir, “Memorial Drive” (2020), an instant New York Times bestseller. Trethewey delivered the Stacy Allen Haines Lecture at Sewanee in 2022. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2017, she received the Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets since 2019, Trethewey was awarded the 2020 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt Prize in Poetry for Lifetime Achievement from the Library of Congress. In 2022, she was the William B. Hart Poet in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. Trethewey earned a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and creative writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1995. Currently, she is Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Community Council Addresses Parking

by Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Sewanee Community Council’s first meeting of this academic year, newly elected Vice-Chancellor Rob Pearigen remarked that parking was an issue more than a decade ago when he first served on the council.

It remained a hot topic at the council’s Sept. 25 meeting along with the campus master plan, an employee apartment community, and a proposed senior living facility.

Acting Provost Scott Wilson told council members that the university had recently begun to enforce parking restrictions in bike lanes. These restrictions had been suspended during Covid.

“From a safety standpoint, it’s much better,” Wilson said, noting that while there had been no pushback from students over the change, elderly community members who are less mobile had voiced concerns.

Short-term procedures to alleviate parking woes include handicapped parking on Georgia Avenue, dedicated night spaces for events, and use of motor pool and electric vehicles to transport people for church events, Wilson said. Additionally, blue parking spaces are open to everyone after 5 p.m.

Council Member Michael Payne was unhappy with the sea of yellow restricted spaces.

“It’s not a good look — a lot of yellow,” he said. “It’s not very Sewanee like, in my view.”

Council members recommended more positive parking signage and maps for major events showing where parking is allowed.

Sewanee resident Brooks Egerton also pointed out that the parking directions on the University’s webpage were unclear and perhaps unfair to enforce because of the confusion.

He said that the website states that “visitors are welcome to park in any available spot designated as Visitor or spots lined in blue.”

Egerton said, “At the parking lots themselves, there are no signs that explain the blue lines or otherwise tell you where you cannot park.”

He added that actual university parking policy states that only vehicles with a purple staff parking sticker may park in blue-lined spaces.

“Can you imagine how you’d feel if you were a prospective faculty member or prospective student or parent and had an encounter with a police officer over a parking space that you had a very good reason to believe was open for use?” he asked.

Vice-Chancellor Pearigen agreed and promised to work towards making messages “consistent, explicable, and fair.”

“It’s something we’ve needed to remedy for years,” he acknowledged.

Wilson told the council that “things are basically paused” with the campus master plan while the university revisits and completes strategic planning.

“Dormitories and residential life for our students are of paramount importance to us,” Wilson said.

Vice President for Economic Development and Community Relations David Shipps briefly updated the council on Sewanee Village Ventures’ efforts to help university employees secure housing on campus.

He said that the five newly constructed single-family spec homes all went under contract within 20 minutes of going up for sale and have all since closed.

“It can be problematic not having places on campus for employees to live,” Shipps said.

Plans are now underway to build a 48-unit apartment community on a 6.5-acre leasehold off Highway 41A between Alabama and Kennerly Road. Six L-shaped buildings will contain eight units, including two two-bedrooms, two studios, and four one-bedrooms. Parking will accommodate 60 cars.

“What it’s going to look like is still underway,” Shipps said. “There is no such thing as an apartment complex in Sewanee — it’s an apartment community.”

He assured the council that the development would have a Sewanee aesthetic.

University of the South alum George Elliott of Birmingham, who has served on the university’s board of trustees, briefed the council on Arcadia’s proposed senior living facility.

“Being part of the community is very important—that it’s walkable to the village,” he said, adding that they are exploring a 13.2-acre site near St. Mark’s Community Center to build both independent living cottages with one to two bedrooms and an assisted living building, which would include memory care.

“There will be buy-in models and rentals,” he said, noting that pricing needs to match the local community.

“We want to make it reflective of the entire community,” he said.

He mentioned that Blakeford at Green Hills, a senior housing community in Nashville, is interested in running the Sewanee facility.

Several council members said that physicians and quality healthcare in the area were also concerns for retirees and potential residents.

Noting that more floats were needed in the annual Sewanee Fourth of July Parade, Councilman John Solomon proposed that the council have a float next year and offered to head up the project.

“It’s a good project for the community, and it’s something fun to do,” he said.

Community member Roger Speer spoke about the need to refurbish the Woodlands Playground, which has fallen into disrepair. He said seminarians are willing to do sweat equity and will be requesting $5,000 in community funding.

Tennessee Williams Center 25th Anniversary

by Beth Riner, Messenger Staff Writer

No one’s more excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Tennessee Williams Center than Professor Jim Crawford, theatre department chair at the University of the South.

This anniversary season, Crawford will direct “A Streetcar Named Desire” — It’s the first major production of a Tennessee Williams play in the seven years Crawford has been with the department.

“We haven’t done one of his major plays for a while,” Crawford said. “We’re hoping to have some conversations with people from the university and from outside the university about his importance to the nation and also to this place in particular because of the link we have to him.”

Although Williams didn’t attend the University of the South, his grandfather did.

“His grandfather was an Episcopal minister—a beloved and very progressive Episcopal minister in Mississippi,” Crawford explained. “He and his grandfather used to have a great relationship. Tennessee Williams had health problems as a child and was not very athletic. He used to follow his grandfather around on his rounds to the people of this small Mississippi town, and they just adored each other. When Tennessee Williams was a young man, his grandparents were the ones who sent him money saying, ‘keep working, we believe in you.’ And then years later when Tennessee Williams died, as a tribute to his grandfather, he left the royalties of all his plays to this college, and that paid for this building — the Tennessee Williams Center.”

The revenue from the generous bequest also pays for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference as well as the Young Writers’ Conference, the School of Letters, and The Sewanee Review.

“The fact that we have a playwright and a poet and fiction writers on staff has to do with Tennessee Williams and this bequest of his,” Crawford added.

“There’s something in the will about it being specifically for progressive and experimental writing which is one of the reasons writing continues to take hold here. What it does for us is that it gives us both a connection to classic American writing which Tennessee Williams represents and also the fact that he sent it forward with real instructions that it should be to the benefit of writers and young writers — which is really a beautiful connection to have.”

The upcoming anniversary season will mix both classic and progressive theatre.

“I feel like a theatre season — whether it’s your 25th season or not — should always have something that people haven’t heard of and something that people have heard of that you’re going to look at in a fresh way,” Crawford said. “This year, we’re doing A Streetcar Named Desire, which most people have heard of, and we’re opening with She Kills Monsters, which most people haven’t heard of and is a really exciting new play.”

Crawford is struck by the student energy and excitement coming into this anniversary year.

“I would say there’s a source of energy here which may partly be coming out of the worst of Covid,” he said. “This is the second fall in a row where we’ve had students arriving just bursting with creativity and energy. I am wondering if it doesn’t have to do with the fact that these are students who didn’t get to do as much theatre in high school. They’re arriving here with their engines revved up and ready to go because they’re so happy to be able to get out there and do it.”

Crawford is also excited about the addition of Elyzabeth Wilder to the department.

“This year for the first time, we have a fulltime professor of playwriting, which I feel like should have happened earlier, but I am delighted it’s happening now,” he said.

“It’s one of the reasons that we feel just full of energy going into exciting new places,” he said.

“She Kills Monsters” runs Oct. 4-8.

“It’s a play about grief, it’s a play about sexual identity, it’s a play about Dungeons and Dragons,” Crawford said.

Other performances during the 25th anniversary season include “DanceWise: Traces” Nov. 16-19, “A Streetcar Named Desire” Feb. 28-March 2; and the annual spring play (TBA) at Angel Park April 16-20.

Guest artists including Tim Miller, a queer solo performer, will be brought in throughout the year.

As always, there is no charge for tickets, but patrons are asked to reserve a seat online.

To reserve a seat for the upcoming “She Kills Monsters,” go to <;.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m., Oct. 4, Oct. 5 and Oct. 7; 8 p.m., Oct. 6; and 2 p.m., Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, in the Proctor Hill Theater at the Tennessee Williams Center located at 290 Kentucky Ave., in Sewanee.

SACA Fall Craft Fair

The Sewanee Arts and Crafts Association will host its fall craft fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, in Shoup Park on University Avenue. This annual event coincides with the University of the South’s Family Weekend providing students, their families and the public an opportunity to meet artists and purchase their work.

Oktoberfest at St. Mark and St. Paul

On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, from 4:30–6:30 p.m., “Fall” into good spirits and great company at Oktoberfest offered by the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul. This feast includes German brats and regular or veggie hot dogs served on buns, potato salad, sauerkraut with caraway, and mouth-watering soft pretzels, with apple cider, lemonade, beer, and water to wash it all down. There is no charge; donations are welcome. Feel free to dress to impress in your German clothing or your Halloween costume (there will be a prize). Bring your kids and friends for fun with dancing, games, and pumpkin/gourd decorating for all ages. The event will be at Kennerly Hall.

Annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off

The South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce Annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off will be on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Hannah Pickett Park. The Park is located at 16 Dixie Lee Ave, behind Monteagle City Hall. This year the Chili Cook-off will be held in conjunction with Jeeptoberfest. There will be arts & craft vendors and activities for the children. These events will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 2 p.m.

The Chili Cook-off will be open to the public for the tasting at 10:30 a.m. The public can sample all the entrants’ chili for $5. Chili Cook-off teams will represent some of the surrounding areas, as well as the mountain’s finest restaurants, businesses, and community groups. There are two categories of awards for the chili contest. The first award is “People’s Choice Best Chili” and the second is “People’s Choice Best Booth.” The chili can be made on site or brought to the event. The Best Chili first place will receive $200. The Best Booth will receive $100.

If you would like to enter the contest or rent a vendor booth, go the chamber’s website at: <>. You can also contact the chamber at (931) 924-5353 or email: <>.

BetterFi Hosting Potluck Fundraiser at End of Month

Coalmont-based nonprofit BetterFi is hosting their first fundraiser at the end of September, a judged potluck cook-off called Take a Bite Out of Predatory Lending that will raise funds to combat predatory lending while celebrating the food and organizations of the South Cumberland Plateau.

The potluck will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 at the Edgeworth Inn, located in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly.

Businesses, organizations, or individuals can sponsor the event, and they can receive a discount on the sponsorship if they bring an entrée, side, or dessert. Tickets to attend will be $30 per person, or $50 for a pair. Nonprofits, churches, and other governmental entities or offices that would like to submit a dish to the competition can bring a dish and receive two tickets to attend at no cost.

Prizes for the best entrée, side, and dessert are $500 each if the winner is a nonprofit – or $500 dedicated to the nonprofit of the winner’s choice if the winner is not a nonprofit.

Judging the event will be the General Manager of the Grundy County Herald Lisa Hobbs and two surprise guest judges. Lisa has been a guest judge at numerous cooking competitions at both the state and local levels, and is an avid cook at home – something to which her fiancé Doug can attest.

All proceeds will go toward BetterFi’s mission to combat predatory payday, title, and flex lending, and the event will celebrate the more-than $1,000,000 that BetterFi has saved its clients so far.

BetterFi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and US Treasury Department-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based out of Coalmont. In addition to free income tax preparation and financial coaching, BetterFi refinances predatory debt as affordable installment loans so that their clients can pay less, build credit, and actually pay off their loans.

More information on BetterFi can be found at and information and electronic sign-up for Take a Bite Out of Predatory Lending can be found at Other questions or requests for information can be sent to <>.

Sign-up forms can also be found at Tower Community Bank in Monteagle.

Newstok to Present the Haines Lecture

This year, our Haines Lecturer will be the professor and critic Scott Newstok. He will deliver the 30th Haines Lecture, titled, “How to Think Like Shakespeare (and Other Humans),” at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, in Convocation Hall.

Scott Newstok is Professor of English and Founding Director of the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment at Rhodes College. An award-winning teacher, he has published a scholarly edition of Kenneth Burke’s Shakespeare criticism; a monograph on early modern English epitaphs; a collection of essays on Macbeth and race (co-edited with Ayanna Thompson); a posthumous edition of Michael Cavanagh’s “Paradise Lost: A Primer”; and, most recently, “How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education.” He’s currently editing Michel de Montaigne’s essays on education, in a new version by award-winning translator Tess Lewis; and co-authoring (with John Guillory) an archival history of the cultural technique of “close reading.”

This series of lectures and readings, funded permanently by gifts in Stacy Haine’s memory from his family and friends, and administered by the College Department of English, stands as a natural and proper extension of the man and his interests.

Fulbright Program Brings Chinese History Scholar to Sewanee

The community is invited to attend a lecture by Sewanee’s Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Arden Chao, on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. The lecture will take place in Gailor Auditorium beginning at 4:30 p.m. and will focus on the meaning of elections in Chinese political thought and its effects. In Chinese history, the term “election” is deeply intertwined with concepts such as “mandate of heaven,” “virtuous governance,” and “benevolence.” The influx of Euro-American concepts like “democracy,” “freedom,” and “citizenship” in the19th century created a hybrid system of political ideologies in modern China. In addition to exploring these issues, the talk will introduce Chinese perspectives on elections and politics in the United States from a comparative point of view in order to promote understanding across cultures. An informal welcome reception for Dr. Chao will follow the talk.

Yejune Chao (preferred name: Arden Chao) is an expert on early-20th century Chinese history and the nuanced factors that caused the Republic of China to reject representative democracy in favor of communism. Chao was selected for the Fulbright award by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program brings visiting scholars from abroad to U.S. colleges and universities, helping the institutions internationalize their curricula, campuses, and surrounding communities, and diversify the educational experiences of their students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders. Chao is one of more than 45 Fulbright Scholars-in-Residence, and among 1,000 outstanding foreign faculty and professionals who will teach and pursue research in the United States during the current academic year through the worldwide Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.

Chao earned a Ph.D. in history from Peking University in 2018 and taught at Southwest University in Chongqing, China, from 2018 to 2021. Ultimately, he says, he found that his research interests were incompatible with living and working in China. “In my writing, I say that China is not a democratic country,” he says. “But Xi Jinping himself says that China is a democracy—a people’s democracy, which is very different from the Western capitalist concept of democracy.” He adds, “I can say anything based on my research and conscience outside of China—I can talk about how Chinese political figures misunderstood or misappropriated certain terms. But in China I can’t pursue these topics.”

History Department Chair Kelly Whitmer says Chao’s experiences as a historian and researcher underscore the vital connection between the past and the present. “History is very alive for [Chao],” she says. “It’s a message we always want to emphasize to our students—the study of history is actually about the present. It’s not a dead subject. We’re trying to understand how we arrived at the world we’re living in now.” Whitmer worked with Hilary Dow Ward, Sewanee’s director of corporate and foundation relations, to apply for the University’s Fulbright partnership. Though Sewanee boasts 56 Fulbright Scholars among its alumni, the University previously had not hosted a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence in nearly 20 years.

The Fulbright Program is recognized as the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries across the globe. It is funded through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participating governments and home and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, more than 400,000 people from all backgrounds—students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals—have participated in the Fulbright Program and returned home with an expanded worldview, a deep appreciation for their host country and its people, and a new network of colleagues and friends. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 62 Nobel laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 78 MacArthur fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

Chao says he’s delighted to be in Sewanee and is looking forward to sharing his perspective on China with students and colleagues. As he notes, there are challenges inherent in using English terms to discuss Chinese concepts. “I want my students to understand what the Chinese people really mean when they talk about certain ideas, and to know how these ‘strange’ meanings—if students want to use that term—were formed.” Chao says he believes these types of classroom conversations can generate cross-cultural empathy and “make the world a better place for us to live.”

ECA sponsors the Fulbright Program, and several nonprofit, cooperative partners implement and support the program on the Bureau’s behalf. For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by email: <>.

Translations: Ancient and Modern

Friends of the Library of Sewanee: The University of the South invites you to attend a panel presentation about the work of translations. Professor Stephanie McCarter from the Classics Department and Rachel Hildebrandt Reynolds, a German translator will discuss their most recent works. The event will be in the Torian Room, second floor of duPont Library, at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 2.

Stephanie McCarter is a professor of Classics at Sewanee. Her translation of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” was published last year by Penguin. She is currently working on a translation of the poetry of Catullus. Her talk considers how translators’ identities and ideologies inform their work. McCarter outlines how her own feminist background and goals gave her tools to reassess Ovid and to produce a more accurate translation of the “Metamorphoses.” She will look especially at her rendering of the Apollo and Daphne episode, particularly words describing the body and sexual violence.

With degrees in art history and historic preservation, Rachel Reynolds, C’98, has worked as a historical consultant and academic editor before transitioning to literary translation. She has published more than 20 works of contemporary fiction and nonfiction in translation with publishers in both the US and the UK, including “Forty Hours” by Kathrin Lange, “Love Letters from Montmartre” by Nicolas Barreau, and “Place of No Return” by Andrea Hoffmann and Mihrigul Tursun. Her next translation will be a middle-grade novel, due out in September 2024 through Amazon Crossing.

Rachel will use her latest translation “Place of No Return” as a case study, discussing how contemporary works “travel” across linguistic borders and how literary translators are critically, though practically invisibly, involved in efforts to fully globalize (in a good sense) the Anglophone publishing world. Non-Anglophone works face numerous challenges within the broader English-speaking publishing industry. Through their efforts to help diversify the body of literature available for Anglophone readers, literary translators serve as pivotal intermediaries in this process, providing essential access to book-related materials critical to the editorial decision-making and the book production processes.

There will be a reception and book sale and signing following the talk.

More information about the Friends of the Library can be found at;. If you have questions about the talk or joining the Friends of the Library, please contact Penny Cowan at (931) 598-1573 or <>.

Sewanee Civic Association Meeting, Oct. 2

The Sewanee Civic Association will meet at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 2, in Kennerly Hall, St. Mark and St. Paul. Social time with wine begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a brief business meeting. Former Dallas Morning News reporter Lee Hancock, C’81, will present the program on the Netflix documentary “Waco: American Apocalypse.”

Reservations for dinner are due by Friday, Sept. 29, via email. Items for the business meeting include the introduction of the Sewanee Community Chest Stewards, the Sewanee Community Chest goal for 2023-24, and updates on service projects. This year, the SCA is celebrating 115 years of social and service opportunities for the community. The SCA is the sponsoring organization for the Sewanee Classifieds, Treasures for the Chest, and the Sewanee Community Chest. Any adult who resides in the area and shares concerns of the community is invited to participate.

For more information go to the website.

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