New Mountain-Themed Artwork Comes to Palmer

After six days in Grundy County, muralist Britt Flood completed Palmer’s first mural, “Allegory of Hope,” on the side of RISE UP Grundy, which occupies the town’s former post office built by the local coal mining company in 1946. Tennessee's South Cumberland Tourism Partnership (TSCTP) has embarked on a multi-year oral history project, which includes narratives about the mountain’s cultural heritage and natural assets like the Mountain Goat Trail. This is the second mural attached to the program.

TSCTP engaged Tullahoma nonprofit DMA-events, Inc. to implement this mural, funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission. After accepting location applications from the community last fall, the tourism partnership selected RISE UP Grundy as the canvas for the new artwork. RISE UP Grundy provides services, education and training to underserved families, in addition to running free summer STEM- and outdoor-focused youth programs.

Flood drew inspiration from the nonprofit’s initiative to help local youth “rise up” to their full potential through character-building. This original piece she designed for the center “abstractly visualizes building blocks that lead to the blooming of oneself,” she says.

“Each design has a figurative element that blends in or becomes part of their background, referencing the importance of community within each of us,” the artist explains. “The 'blooms' are inspired by native plants, colors, and trail views found in Grundy County like mountain laurel, Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly and Eastern redbud wildflower. The goal of the mural is for any child or person to be stopped in their tracks and overcome with inspiration and hope from the vibrant colors—as well as overcome with a desire to be curious, to learn, to ask questions, to help oneself and to help others.”

The beating heart at the center of the Grundy County nonprofit is to provide students with a program outside of school to gain skills, abilities, and other leadership qualities through mentorships and apprenticeship, while offering exposure to new experiences. Deborah Frost, co-founder of RISE UP Grundy, says the youth in her program were fascinated to watch the progress of the mural installation as it unfolded and interact with the artist herself.

“They are drawn to it and quite proud that it is on ‘their’ building,” she says. “We have a couple of very talented artistic kids in the program, and they want to try their hand at creating their own miniature mural design.”

Frost and her husband Loren, with whom she runs the nonprofit, have big plans for its future: The next steps are the addition of a landscaped skate park, benches for reading and stops along the path for youth art displays. They will host a motorcycle ride from Chattanooga up Suck Creek Mountain to the mural in the fall to help raise funds for the next phase of the project. The center will also be a trailhead terminus for the 35-mile Mountain Goat Trail that will eventually link Cowan and Palmer.

“We talk about hope frequently with the youth, and this amazing new mural couldn't have a more perfect title,” Frost says. “That's what the youth program is all about: inspiring them to dream big and work hard and empowering them to shoot for the stars. The colors remind us of the bright future ahead for this wonderful community and brings a vibrant energy to the landscape.”

“Allegory of Hope” was funded by a Rural Arts Project Support grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. Last year’s “Lantern Light” by Megan Lingerfelt was supported by TSCTP and a Creative Placemaking grant from the arts commission.

Britt Flood is a North Carolina-based muralist and fine artist who creates moments of tenderness in the public realm. Her work aims to cast a spell of connection and big feelings within the viewer through large-scale painting and mark-making. Flood’s paintings visualize heightened instances of realization and the ephemeral, and her works of public art—which can be found in Alabama, Arizona, North Carolina, Louisiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia and Tennessee—give inactivated spaces visual poetry.

Journalists Kristin Luna and Scott van Velsor started 501(c)(3) DMA-events in May 2018 as a catalyst to provide free access to art to rural communities throughout the South, with more than 50 large-scale murals successfully completed to date in Tullahoma, Manchester, McMinnville, Viola, Lawrenceburg, Tracy City, Knoxville, Maryville, Sweetwater, Madisonville, Centerville, Columbia, Nolensville, Nashville and Palmer. All murals DMA has produced can be found here: <>;.

The Tennessee Arts Commission offers a variety of distinct funding opportunities to encourage participation in arts activities in communities across all 95 counties. By purchasing the arts Tennessee Specialty License Plate, you are supporting organizations, schools, communities and public art projects like these across Tennessee.

67th SSMF Season Tickets Available

Join us for the 67th season of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.

From June 16–July 14, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival will host more than 30 performances of symphonic, chamber, and vocal music, including Faculty Artist Series, Cumberland Orchestra, Sewanee Symphony, Opera Scenes, Jacqueline Avent Concerto Competition, Student Chamber Ensembles, Composer Showcases, Aria Showcases, Festival Brass, Concerto Lab Orchestra, July 4 Patriotic Band Celebration, and Opera’s Greatest Hits at Angel Park. With participants and faculty coming from across the globe for a transformative summer in Sewanee, this festival season is sure to energize, captivate, and inspire.

The season subscription, $150, allows you full access to all concerts during the 2024 Festival. To reserve your tickets, go to <;.

Please direct questions to <> or call (931) 598-1225. If you wish to purchase tickets in person, you may do so at our office during regular business hours. The Sewanee Music Center office is located in Guerry Hall, Room 129. Tickets are also available at the door for all events.

Patrons who purchase individual tickets will receive a confirmation email that can be used for admission. Patrons who purchase season passes online or in person will receive a confirmation via email. This confirmation may be used at each ticketed performance you attend.

SCCF Announces Collaborative Grant Orientation Session and Annual Celebration of the Plateau

The South Cumberland Community Fund board has directed $50,000 for a special grant round during 2024, the Connecting for Lasting Impact Grant. With this grant round, first introduced in 2022, the Community Fund hopes to cultivate deeper and more meaningful lasting connections among non-profit organizations on the Plateau. In issuing this call for proposals, the goal of the Community Fund’s board is to foster connections between and among organizations on the Plateau to address big challenges we all face as a community.

A grant orientation session will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 8, at Kennerly Hall at the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul, located at 216 University Ave., Sewanee. A representative from your organization must attend if you wish to apply. We will focus on program goals and methods for assessing your project. In addition, we will share a rubric that the grants committee will use to determine which applications best reflect the program’s goals. We hope that the orientation session will also be a place where collaborations between organizations can be formed and projects identified.

For more information about the Connecting for Lasting Impact Grant, visit <> or email us at <>.

Directly after the orientation session on June 8, the Community Fund will host its annual Celebration of the Plateau at 11:30 a.m., also at Kennerly Hall at the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul. We will celebrate the recipients of our spring grants cycle (listed below) and share a simple meal together. Please RSVP at <> or by emailing <> so that we can have an accurate meal count.

Betty Carpenter, chair of the Community Fund’s grants committee, says of the spring grants slate, “To enhance the quality of life for all living on the plateau has always been the goal of South Cumberland Community Fund. The organizations receiving grants have shown a dedication to using the funds in ways that will make a difference. I don’t know of any other place where so many people work so hard to make things better for everyone.”

We hope you will join us to celebrate the spring grantees listed below and consider applying for your own grant if you are an organization that serves the Plateau. For more information about the Community Fund’s work, visit us at <>

South Cumberland Community Fund 2024 Spring Grant Slate:

Folks at Home to renovate the front entryway of the Folks at Home building for handicapped accessibility

Grundy County Food Bank for equipment racks and a commercial freezer

Grundy County Historical Society for expansion of the Grundy County Historical Society Heritage Center Outdoor Exhibit Area

Grundy County Mayor’s Office for handicapped accessible playground equipment at the Miracle on the Mountain Park

Housing Hub to establish a centralized office space for training and resources in support of safe, healthy, affordable housing

Housing Sewanee for infrastructure costs for Sherwood Spring Cul-de-Sac 2 in preparation for construction of home number four

Sewanee Community Chest to install a handicapped restroom and a new water heater for the Mountain Goat Trail Welcome and Heritage Center

Sewanee Mountain Grotto to purchase a trailer and trailer modifications for recycling efforts at the Caverns

St. James Midway Community Park to install electrical outlets and security lights at the park

Town of Tracy City to repair and refurbish the “Old Fair Barn”

Tracy City Elementary School for an addition to the walking and running track at Tracy City Elementary School

Tracy City Volunteer Fire Department for partial funding of an AMKUS ION ITR 500 RAM extraction tool

The Second Ever Farm Olympics

Southeast Tennessee Young Farmers will host the Farm Olympics at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 8, at Cove Creek Farm in Monteagle.

Southeast Tennessee Young Farmers works to support young and aspiring farmers through community-building, resource and knowledge sharing, and advocacy. While much of that work centers on building farmer networks and collaborations, we recognize that for many that leaves a deep competitiveness buried within. We must release it! That is why we are thrilled to host the second ever Farm Olympics where farmers and non-farmers (maybe you?) will compete for the Farm Olympics Cup, spread awareness about the serious challenges that young farmers face, and raise money to help our chapter address those issues.

This years’ events include the Kubota of Chattanooga Transplant Race, the South Cumberland Regional Land Trust Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament; The American Farmland Trust Obstacles to Land Access Race; The Sequatchie Cove Farm Multigenerational Egg Toss; The Land Trust for Tennessee Plant Identification Quiz; the Shifted Strong Hay Bale Toss; the Cove Creek Classic Fence Race; the Cumberland Forest School Kids Water Trough Relay, as well as the Grace Frank Group Egg Juggle, and the Lupi’s Pizza Pies Pie Judging event.

Competitive events will be followed by a farm to picnic blanket feast featuring Cove Creek pork and side dishes from Mac’s Kitchen and Bar, and LUNCH as well as other local farms. After dinner there will be a silent auction with products from our farmers and supporters; and the Hungry for Community Hoe Down — a contra dance featuring fiddlin’ Bob Townsend and his band.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children, (discounts are available for members via email <>), available at <https://southeasttennesseeyoun...;.

Made possible with generous support from American Farmland Trust, Kent Ballow, Cove Creek Farm, Grace Frank Group, Hungry for Community (a project of the Grundy County Arts Council), Kubota of Chattanooga, Lupi’s Pizza Pies, Patagonia Nashville, Sequatchie Cove Farm, Shifted, The Land Trust for Tennessee, The South Cumberland Regional Land Trust and Jumpoff Community Land Trust, Cumberland Forest School, Furnish Me Vintage, Mac’s Kitchen and Bar, Niedlov’s Bakery and Cafe, Stewards Unlimited, Alter Eco Farms, Art of Wellness, Bread and Butter, Calliope Restaurant, Cumberland Folk School, Lodge Cast Iron, LUNCH, Rooted Here / the South Cumberland Farmers Market, Sequatchie Cove Creamery, Spice Trail, Summer Fields, The Marugg Company, Yip Fitness, Growing Roots, and Yoga with Helen.

South Cumberland Summer Meal Program

The University of the South is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service (not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). There will be no service on July 4 and July 5. Meals will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis at the sites and times as follows:

Altamont Public Library, on Tuesdays, June 4–July 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 1433 Main St., Altamont.

Beersheba Springs Public Library, on Wednesdays, June 4–July 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 19683 State Route 56, Beersheba Springs.

Coalmont Public Library, on Thursdays, June 4–July 26, from 2–4 p.m., at 6650 SR 56, Coalmont.

Cowan Community Center, on Wednesdays, June 4–July 26, from 2–4 p.m., at 303 Montgomery St., Cowan.

Franklin County Public Library, on Wednesdays, June 4–July 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 101 S. Porter St., Winchester.

Gruetli-Laager City Hall, on Thursdays, June 4–July 26, from 9:30–11:30 a.m., at 27730 SR TN-108, Gruetli-Laager.

Grundy County Food Bank, on Tuesdays, June 4–July 26, from 8:30–10:30 a.m., at 114 So Industrial Park Rd., Coalmont.

Grundy County Housing, on Tuesdays, June 4–July 26, from 9–11 a.m., at 187 Raulston Ave., Monteagle.

Grundy Safe Communities Coalition, on Mondays, June 4–July 26, from 8:30–10:30 a.m., at 14399 US 41, Tracy City.

May Justus Memorial Library, on Thursdays, June 4–July 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 24 Dixie Lee Ave., Monteagle.

Morton Memorial United Methodist Church, on Saturdays, June 8 and July 13, from 8–10 a.m., at 322 W. Main St., Monteagle.

Palmer Public Library, on Thursdays, June 4–July 26, from 1–3 p.m., at 2115 Main St., Palmer.

Pelham United Methodist Church, on Mondays, June 4–July 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at 2440 TN 50, Pelham.

SETHRA, on Monday, June 10, from 8–10 a.m., at 27 Phipps St., Coalmont.

Sherwood Community Center, on Fridays, June 4–July 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, at 10225 Sherwood Rd., Sherwood.

St. James Episcopal Church, on Wednesdays, June 4–July 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., atv898 Midway Rd., Sewanee.

University Child Care Center, on Mondays, June 4–July 26, from 7:30–9:30 a.m., at 574 Georgia Ave., Sewanee.

To file a program complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027), found online at <http://www.ascr.usda/gov/compl...; and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:


U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

Fax: (202) 690-7442; or Email: <>. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Monteagle: ‘Positive Policing,’ Budget, and Tree Board

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Prior to approval of the budget at the May 20 meeting, Vice Mayor Nate Wilson offered a snapshot overview of revenue, expenses, and capital reserves over the past 10 years. Noting increasing expenditures for the Police Department, Wilson commented, “we’ve got good results to show for it. Chief William Raline’s report is telling us we’re moving in the right direction.” Raline attributed the low crime rate and citations to “positive policing, putting citizens first and safety first.”

Monteagle police recently resolved a year-long case working with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department to “make the situation better for the town and the children in the home.” From April 15 to May 15, statistics on crime were “basically zero,” Raline said. There was only one drug arrest, thefts were down, and speeding had significantly decreased. The department had issued very few citations, issuing warnings to first-offense speeders. The few vehicle crashes were minor, Raline observed, mostly “18 wheelers backing into 18 wheelers.”

In other highlights from the 10-year budget overview, Wilson also cited increasing expenditures for the Fire Department, again with good results. The ISO rating had dropped, meaning lower insurance premiums, and volunteer participation had increased. Wilson stressed the importance of increasing wages for police and fire department employees, not just to retain them, but because, “they do a hard job.” Mayor Greg Maloof pointed out the cost for police and fire protection was not just salaries, but also equipment and training.

On the revenue side, Occupancy Tax revenue had increased since the COVID pandemic, Wilson said. He expressed concern about the decrease in the capital reserve account created when Monteagle sold the natural gas service to Middle Tennessee Natural Gas. Initially regulations required the town replace withdrawals from the capital reserve, but the rule was rescinded when Monteagle built a new fire hall. Wilson recommended the town strive to “rebuild the capital reserve so we have the ability to replace things as they wear out.”

The 2024-2025 budget passed unanimously.

In other business, Wilson brought to the council’s attention the opportunity for grants from the state forestry division. Establishing a “tree board” composed of citizens and officials would increase the town’s chance of receiving the 50:50 match grant money. Meetings of the tree board and time city employees spent on tree care could count as an in-kind contribution to meet the match. Alderman Dan Sargent expressed reservations about the grant. “Anytime the government offers us money, we’re going to be responsible for how we spend that money,” Sargent said, speculating, “Somebody will be standing in my yard telling me I can’t cut a tree down.” Wilson explained the grant money was for planting trees on public property and education about their care. The town currently had trees that needed replaced and the new interstate exit would offer landscaping opportunities for tree planting. The council passed a resolution authorizing the Beautification Committee to serve as a tree board.

During the comment period, resident Dean Lay objected to the Planning Commission’s denial of a second Dollar General in Monteagle because C-3 commercial zoning did not allow that type of business in the proposed location. “A few years ago, the purposes and mission of C-2 and C-3 were reversed,” Lay said. “City Hall is in C-3. Your own city hall is in violation. Twenty-five percent of the population live below the poverty level. Dollar General is vital to the poor to buy groceries.”

Maloof responded, “I share some of your confusion.” Maloof abstained from the planning commission vote. The planning commission will address the commercial zoning question at a July workshop. According to Maloof, the developer is considering asking the Board of Zoning Appeals to override the decision. Sargent said he voted against denying Dollar General’s request. “We get bogged down in zoning,” Sargent insisted. “I’m frustrated, too. We let another [business] go.” Alderwoman Jessica Favaloro pointed out the town was engaged in the planning process but did not yet have a plan. “Healthy growth requires a plan … before we start popping stores and businesses where they don’t belong,” she said. “I don’t want another Dollar General,” alderwoman Dorraine Parmley said, “but I don’t want to tell someone what they can do with their land. We have too many rules.” Wilson said the type of Dollar General proposed for the location was not a food market that carried groceries. He anticipates Monteagle should have the American Institute of Architects final planning recommendations for action steps by the June 24 meeting.

University Avenue Re-Design; Speed Calming Devices

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 20 meeting, the Sewanee Community Council learned about plans to reconfigure bike lanes and parking on University Avenue and plans for speed-calming devices on several streets. The council also heard an update on the University apartments slated for construction on Highway 41A.

University Avenue will be “remarked,” said acting Provost Scott Wilson. There will continue to be bike lanes on both sides, although narrower in some places. There will be no parking from the Wellness Center to Georgia Avenue, except for three ADA compliant spots. Two ADA compliant parking spaces already exist next to Biehl Commons, Wilson noted. The bike lanes will run from Hall Street (the Sewanee Inn) to downtown. On the Chapel side there will be parking from downtown to the Wellness Center and from Georgia Avenue to the Sewanee Inn with the bike lane on the outside. The University has retained a civil engineer for the project.

Addressing related concerns, Wilson said first-year student parking would largely be in peripheral lots with central campus lots reserved for employees and visitors. The University plans to establish a “trolley service” similar to the former Baccus service offering nighttime on-campus transportation. In addition, the University has acquired two ADA compliant vehicles to facilitate student transportation to and from peripheral lots and to nearby off-campus commercial sites, such as CVS.

Traffic Committee Chair Michael Payne said the University received grant funding for “speed cushions” on Green’s View Road, Tennessee Avenue, and South Carolina Avenue. Payne pointed out the speed cushions will have gaps in the middle and on the sides allowing for bicycles to travel unimpeded. The committee will continue to investigate solutions to traffic concerns on other streets, especially those without sidewalks.

Reporting on the apartments slated for construction by Sewanee Village Ventures (SVV), Vice President for Economic Development and Community Relations David Shipps said he expected construction to begin in August and estimated completion time at 12-13 months. The project calls for six buildings with eight units in each.

Shipps also announced another SVV project. Through a generous gift, the University recently acquired the former Lumière restaurant site. Plans call for “reanimating” the building with a restaurant projected to open in the fall.

A resident commented the on-campus cemetery was “unsightly and overgrown with weeds.” Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor Nicky Hamilton said she received an “inquiry” about the condition of the cemeteries and “would be looking into it.”

Council representative Bill Harper will serve as the council representative on the Lease Committee. Council representative Ben Tarhan will server as the election officer for the upcoming council representative election which coincides with the national election in November.

Franklin County Schools Art-Music Teacher Dilemma

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At a special called May 28 workshop, the Franklin County School Board grappled with an administrative decision about art and music instruction at Broadview, Cowan, North Lake and Sewanee elementary schools. By the proposed plan for the 2024-2025 school year, each school would have a Fine Arts/Discovery teacher to teach both art and music. Echoing experiences recounted by her board member colleagues, Sandy Schultz said she had been “bombarded” with phone calls from concerned parents.

Director of Schools Cary Holman said the decision was due to a teacher shortage and was suggested by the principals at the four schools. Cowan and Sewanee shared art and music teachers on a weekly rotation for the 2023-2024 school year. Broadview and North Lake had no art teacher, in spite of the district listing a posting for an art teacher throughout the year. Both schools filled the time slot with a substitute teacher.

“It’s not just in art and music that teachers are leaving the profession,” Holman explained. “It is not a Franklin County issue. It is a national issue.”

North Lake Principal Sherry Sells said the art teacher previously assigned to the school on a shared basis “moved on.” Sells cited how difficult it was for a shared teacher to “build community” at both schools. Other schools had full-time teachers for both music and art, Sells commented.

“Having someone to share would be fabulous,” said Broadview Principal Rhonda Stevens, but acknowledged the national teacher shortage made that unlikely. Explaining the proposal to hire a Fine Arts/Discovery teacher to teach both art and music, Stevens said, “Someone to nurture the love of art and music was our goal.”

Board member Sarah Marhevsky pointed out the job description for the Fine Arts/Discovery position made no overt reference to teaching art or music.

Rebecca Van de Ven, who taught music at Cowan and SES, declined taking a position as a Discovery/STREAM teacher at Cowan position because she could not clarify to her satisfaction what the expectations were. “Maybe they didn’t actually mean for me to do science experiments, maybe I only needed to connect music and art to science and math,” Van de Ven commented when contacted by the Messenger. Van de Ven subsequently accepted a position teaching music at Clark Memorial.

Shultz said the vague job description could result in teachers with only a regular elementary certification taking the position “because they need a job. Teaching both art and music would be an astronomical undertaking.”

“Taking art and music out of the job description says something not good about us,” said board member Sara Liechty. “We need to spread the message we support music and art.”

Board member Casey Roberts pointed out if she were a music or art teacher searching for a job, a position listed as Fine Arts/Discovery might not come across her radar screen. “You won’t catch what you aren’t fishing for.”

“The beauty of making music is that it activates more parts of your brain simultaneously than any other activity, including math,” said Van de Ven emphasizing the importance of music instruction beginning at an early age. Liechty read an account written by a former student who credited his music instruction at Decherd Elementary with fostering “cultural awareness, empathy, creativity, collaboration with his classmates and academic excellence.” Shultz gave the example of a blind and autistic child who thrived as a consequence of his music instruction at Broadview Elementary.

Liechty suggested a semester-by-semester rotation for art and music teachers. Shultz said based on her experiences as principal at Broadview Elementary, semester by semester was too long, students would forget what they had learned. Schultz also noted the semester-by-semester method meant a school with no music the first semester would have no Christmas program, disappointing to parents.

SES Principal Allison Dietz said she would love full-time music and art teachers, but she would be “willing to share.” Dietz suggested a nine-weeks rotation as an alternative.

“It was never the intent to make anyone feel art and music are not valued,” Holman insisted. “All four of those principals would love to have both music and art teachers.”

The Fine Arts/Discovery position would be reposted specifying a preference for art and music certification, Holman said. The district currently has no positions posted for art and music teachers, acknowledged Human Resources Supervisor Roger Alsup.

Holman said having both full-time music and art teachers at all four school would require hiring four more teachers.

Marhevsky proposed the district pursue making opportunities available for people skilled in teaching music and art to become certified.

Changing Gears at Woody’s Bicycles

For almost 29 years, Woody Deutsch has been the owner and operator of Woody’s Bicycles, rolling out rides to the community.

On June 1, new owner Robert McKee takes over to keep the bicycle community going.

McKee, who grew up riding bikes here, said “the community needs a bike shop. We need to keep it open and keep it running as it is the closest traditional bike shop within a 50 mile radius.”

McKee said everything at Woody’s Bicycles will remain the same, right down to the exceptional customer service that is the hallmark of the business.

“The business plan remains the same for the shop,” said McKee. “There are so many trails for mountain biking and for road riding here. We will do some more marketing and community outreach. We will get back to pre-COVID activities such as group rides, community bike tours and rentals. As the Mountain Goat Trail expands there will be an opportunity to have outposts along the Trail for people to pick up and drop off bike rentals.”

“The best part of being the owner of the bike shop is solving problems and fixing bicycles to help people get out and ride. I want to be a part of that,” said McKee.

What began in October 1995 as a satellite of Tullahoma’s then J&M Bicycles, Deutsch opened Woody’s Bicycles on 2nd Avenue in Winchester. The timing was right, and Deutsch, who has always been an avid cyclist, said he had some ideas of his own about how to run the kind of bike shop he wished he could frequent himself.

“At the time, there was no notion of me being the sole owner of a retail business. I was the mechanic and the salesperson, and J&M Bicycles provided all the goods — the bicycles, clothing, accessories and parts, and they did the bookkeeping. This was the perfect way to start to learn the business,” he said. Deutsch said it was about a year into his running the Winchester store that the owners of J&M decided to sell, and Deutsch went all in.

Deutsch operated the Winchester store for 13 years and in 2008 made the move to the Sewanee location. Brian Schaefer, who started working with Deutsch in 2000, also made the move up the mountain. Deutsch said the shop owes a lot to the innovation, imagination, and the pure magician-like talents of Schaefer. During the pandemic, Deutsch stopped going in on a regular basis, and Schaefer was instrumental in keeping the shop open and highly successful. When Schaefer died Feb. 3, 2023, Deutsch went back to the shop full-time.

“Every morning, I wake up and say ‘Oh boy! I get to go to the bike shop.’ This shop is an extension of my house. I am at home at the shop,” said Deutsch. “The best part of the shop is the customers. It will be the people I will miss the most day to day.”

“I want to spend more time with my grandkids and go to their sporting events and school activities. I want to read more, bike and hike more, learn to cook better, and help more with Rotary. There will be Saturdays I want to take off. But sixty percent of the time I will still be here at the shop,” said Deutsch. Deutsch said Speed Baranco will also continue working at the shop three days a week.

Woody’s Bicycles is located at 90 Reed’s Ln., in Sewanee. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get in touch with Robert and Woody by calling (931) 598-9793, or stop by. For more information on repairs, biking trails, sales, rentals and more, go to

. —reported by K.G. Beavers

Red, White, Blue – Thankful for You!

The Fourth of July Committee is proud to announce our theme for the 2024 celebration: “Red, White, Blue — Thankful for You!” The theme can encompass all things red, white, and blue — patriotism, flags, independence, giving thanks, and anything and everything in between. We are thankful for our community and your support to coordinate an outstanding event.

We invite everyone to join us on Wednesday, July 3, and Thursday, 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

for more information announcing event registration, the grand marshal, and upcoming schedule details.

John G. Bratton Estate Establishes Scholarship for the Sewanee Summer Music Festival

The legacy of John G. Bratton, a beloved figure in the Sewanee community, continues to resonate through the establishment of the John G. Bratton Scholarship for the Sewanee Summer Music Festival (SSMF). Bratton, a dedicated supporter of the arts and a cherished member of the Sewanee community, passed away in late 2023, leaving a profound impact on the festival and its attendees.

Throughout his life, Bratton demonstrated unwavering support for the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, culminating in a significant gift for scholarship in 2020. His estate has further solidified his commitment by endowing the John G. Bratton Scholarship, aimed at nurturing young, talented instrumental and vocal students. This scholarship offers opportunities for those who would most benefit from a transformative summer experience in Sewanee, fostering artistic growth and personal development.

In recognition of Bratton’s lifelong dedication to the festival, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival has designated the final Cumberland Orchestra concert as the John G. Bratton Concert. Bratton’s involvement with the SSMF dates back to its founding, and he has remained a steadfast presence, attending nearly every festival concert since its inception. He contributed as a supporter and served as a vital part of the festival’s operations, helping to manage the volunteer program and advocating for its expansion, including the addition of the opera program in 2021.

John Kilkenny, Festival Director, expressed his gratitude for Mr. Bratton’s enduring impact, stating, “John Bratton never sought public recognition for his generosity during his lifetime, but his passion for music and dedication to the Sewanee Summer Music Festival was unmistakable. We are thrilled to honor him perpetually through this new endowment, made possible by his estate’s support and his family’s consent.”

As the 67th season of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival approaches, set to launch on June 16, anticipation builds for another unforgettable summer of music and community. A full season announcement is scheduled for May, offering further details on this year’s lineup and events. For more information, please visit

School of Letters to Offer Public Events

The Sewanee School of Letters will host a series of public events during its summer session in June and July. You are invited to attend these conversations and readings with visiting faculty and guest authors.

Readings are at Gailor Hall in the newly-named Naylor Auditorium at 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted, with a reception following in Gailor Atrium. Most readings are on Wednesday. Go to; for more information and the complete schedule.

On Monday, June 3, at 5:30 p.m., at the University Bookstore, there will be a reading and book signing with Ryan Chapman and Justin Taylor.

Ryan Chapman’s latest novel “The Audacity” was released April 2. Described as “a bracing satire about the implosion of a Theranos-like company, a collapsing marriage, and a billionaire’s philanthropy summit,’’ this book is perfect for fans of Hari Kunzru and The White Lotus. School of Letters Director Justin Taylor’s new book, “Reboot” was released April 23. Penned as “a raucous and wickedly smart satire of Hollywood, toxic fandom, and our chronically online culture, following a washed-up actor on his quest to revive the cult TV drama that catapulted him to fame.” Join the School of Letters for a public reading and book signing.

The first faculty reading will be at 4:30 p.m., Wedensday, June 5, at Naylor Auditorium. Reception to follow in Gailor Atrium.

Adam O’Fallon Price is the author of two novels: “The Grand Tour” (Doubleday, 2016) and “The Hotel Neversink” (Tin House Books, 2019). “The Hotel Neversink” won the 2020 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. His short fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Harper’s, VICE, the Iowa Review, the Kenyon Review Online, LitHub, Joyland, and many others. He also writes essays and criticism, which appear in many places including Ploughshares, Electric Literature, Paris Review Daily, The Millions, where he is a staff writer, and many more.

Meera Subramanian is an award-winning independent journalist whose work has been published in national and international publications including the New York Times, The 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” was short-listed for the 2016 Orion Book Award.

The School of Letters offers an MFA in creative writing. Please visit the School’s website for more information on the program.

Franklin County Schools: Budget, No Teacher Guns

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 13 meeting the Franklin County School Board approved the 2024-2025 budget, with one board member abstaining. In response to the legislative update, Director of Schools Cary Holman weighed in on the new law allowing teachers to carry guns.

Deputy Director of Finances Jenny Phillips presented two budget scenarios: a 3 percent raise versus a 5 percent raise for teachers and support staff. The district is required by law to offer a starting teacher salary of $50,000 by the 2027-2028 school year. For the 2023-2024 school year, the starting teacher salary was $44,660. “Over the next three years there will have to be a 12 percent increase in salaries,” Holman said. County employee wages were expected to increase 3.2 percent in the coming year, Phillips said. Both budgets will require a significant withdrawal from the reserve fund balance, $2,456,868 and $3,147,226 respectively.

“We might as well get there [to the $50,000 goal] sooner instead of later,” said board member Sarah Marhevsky. “We continually talk about the teacher shortage.” The larger increase would help with retaining current staff and attracting new teachers, Marhevsky pointed out.

“I’d rather go to them [the county commission] and say, ‘we have to be at X,’” argued Vice Chair Lance Williams. “Three years from now the county commission can’t say no.”

“[The 5 percent budget] will come right back to us,” said Board Chair Cleijo Walker. “You can’t keep dipping into the fund balance until it’s gone. You can’t live out of a savings account.”

Holman reminded the board under the new TISA funding formula only 70 percent of the per-pupil allocation came from the state. The budget asks the county commission for an additional $308,000 from property taxes. County Mayor Chris Guess cautioned, “People think property tax is a windfall.”

Marhevsky abstained from the budget vote.

Alerting the board to another financial concern, Holman said the state had not updated its funding formulas since 2017. “As a result, some districts were overpaid, and some were underpaid. We were overpaid. The state has instituted what it calls a ‘smooth payback.’ For the next seven years we will be decreased by $25,000 in Title I funds and $10,000 in IDEA funding.”

The law allowing school faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on school grounds stipulates permission be granted by the chief of local law enforcement, the director of schools, and the building principal. “No teacher in Franklin County School District will be allowed to carry guns in our schools,” Holman insisted. “We will continue to rely on the support of our sheriff’s department and other trained professionals in that line of work. Our teachers will continue to have only instructional expectations.” Mayor Guess, a former law enforcement officer, voiced support for Holman’s position.

Marhevsky provided an overview of two other legislative actions impacting public schools. The Freedom Scholarship Act was tabled. The Senate and House versions of the bill “were too far apart,” Marhevsky speculated. The legislature left money funding the program in the budget to avoid the need to revote the financing if the bill passes in the next session.

Another bill provided a process enabling students retained in the fourth grade to move on to fifth grade. “The parents, principal, and teachers can meet and if they feel like there’s enough evidence this child will be fine in the fifth grade, he or she can move on,” Holman explained. High density tutoring will be required in the fifth grade. The bill has not been signed by the governor yet.

Human Resources Supervisor Roger Alsup announced the district would initiate an “exit survey” for teachers not renewed, retiring, or resigning. Teachers not renewed will have the option of requesting a meeting to discuss the decision.

Monteagle Planning Tackles Long-Term Impact Decisions

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the May 7 meeting the Monteagle Planning Commission revisited a February request to allow a campground on property zoned commercial C-3 and a new request to rezone C-3 property to commercial C-2 or to change approved uses in C-3 to allow a Dollar General Store to locate there. All three requests were denied but prompted long discussion and the decision to hold a two-hour workshop July 2 to weigh zoning questions.

Monteagle only allows campgrounds in C-2 zoning and in residential R-3 zoning as a “special exception” decision which falls to the Board of Zoning Appeals, explained town planner Jonathan Rush. The commission deferred a decision on the February request for a campground in C-3 zoning pending insight from the American Institute of Architect (AIA) planners scheduled to visit in late April. “They seemed more focused on downtown and the business district,” said Commissioner Katie Trahan who spoke with the planners. Rush recommended if the commission decided to allow campgrounds in C-3 it be as a “special exception.” Rush also proposed, since the town was engaged in land use planning, campgrounds be by “special exception” regardless of the zone. Vice Chair Richard Black said once the BZA approved a “special exception,” the tendency was to allow all future “special exception” requests. Commissioner Alec Mosley referenced an ordinance stating approval by the BZA “upon determining conditions or requirements for the special exception had been met.” Mosley recommended defining those conditions for campground special exceptions. Trahan said the conditions should take into account nearby neighborhoods density and size. Rush will work on identifying the conditions and an amendment making campgrounds a “special exception” in C-2 for commissioners’ review at the June meeting.

Providing background on the Dollar General proposed for the corner of Dixie Lee Highway and Sampley Street, Rush said “retail commercial” was only allowed in C-1 and C-2 and the property was zoned C-3. Susannah Rote, representative for the developer Turner Realty, asked why the Dollar General did not qualify as a convenience store, pointing out convenience stores were allowed in C-3. “Convenience stores are typically associated with gas stations or truck stops,” Rush said. Not allowing a Dollar General at that location “doesn’t wash,” objected Commissioner Dan Sargent. “This was commercial property all my life.” Rush explained C-3 zoning was intended for businesses drawing interstate traffic. Mosley said, although the original town plan had been lost, the C-3 zoning “likely reflects” the original plan. Monteagle Alderman Nate Wilson said the AIA planners envisioned the location as part of the “civic zone,” perhaps a park, adjacent to the city hall, library, and community center. Wilson acknowledged, though, city hall was zoned C-3. To avoid spot zoning, the commission would need to rezone the entire area to C-2, not just the parcel in question, Rush said. “Rezoning to C-2 might be more palatable with the local residents in that area, but it would take a whole lot more conversation and involvement with what we got from the AIA people,” Black insisted.

The commission voted unanimously not to rezone the tract. Sargent voted against not allowing retail of the Dollar General variety in C-3. Mayor Greg Maloof abstained from the vote. The commission agreed about the need for a workshop. Rush pointed out some municipalities distinguished between small mom-and-pop retail and big-box retail in zoning rules. “We need to determine if there is another use for the property the city has in mind,” Black said. The commission will have the full land use proposal from the AIA planners by the July 2 workshop. “In their presentation the AIA gave us some broad-brush ideas,” Wilson said. “The proposal will give us more detail, but it’s going to be up to us to think about what we want where and have our zoning map reflect that.”

Students Occupy Chapel: Maybe a Win-Win?

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Late on the evening of Thursday, May 3, a cohort of students self-named “Sewanee for Palestine” ended their three-day occupation of All Saints’ Chapel. The protest began with a march and rally on the morning of April 30. By day three, with tension mounting, the student encampment on the rooftop had attracted national media attention and the students’ numbers had grown from five to eight.

“Wednesday, we talked with the vice chancellor and agreed if he would meet with us here at 11 a.m. today, Thursday, we would remove the banners so the seniors could have their photo taken at the chapel,” said senior Erin Wilcox giving a timeline of events. Vice-Chancellor Rob Pearigen agreed. The traditional senior group photo in front of the chapel showed no signs of the dis-ease fomenting behind the scenes.

At 11 a.m., Thursday, Pearigen read from a prepared statement responding to the students’ demands that the university “disclose … all University investments and endowment holdings” and “divest University money from all direct investment in weapons manufacturing.” The students already had some knowledge of University investment in weapons manufacturing. “We know part of the money is going to Boeing and Honeywell because Green’s View Capital, our student run investment, releases a tiny amount of information,” said freshman Sarah Emery Bettis. “We also learned a vice president of Lockheed Martin is on the board of regents.”

Pearigen said transition to a new investment manager was underway and the University would disclose all endowment investments by Jan. 1, 2025, and, going forward, annually. The Investment Management Committee would invite a delegation of students to meet with them to discuss investment strategies during the June meeting of the Board of Regents, one student representative from Green’s View and the other five selected by students. The University would adopt “an Environmental, Social, and Governance framework … to align University investments with University values and principals.” Student stakeholders would have an opportunity to provide their “perspective” and “input” on the “direct investment in weapons.”

Students responded they wanted “to see a little deeper” into the current investment allocations and were concerned the student voice “wouldn’t be heard” in investment decision making. “You have my word,” Pearigen said. He asked students to be “respectful of the process that needs to play out” with the transition to the new investment management and adopting new practices.

In response to the third student demand, a commitment of “solidarity with the people of Gaza and students around the United States who have experienced violence for exercising their first amendment rights,” the University statement affirmed the “respect for the dignity of every human being and the free expression and exchange of ideas” and made reference to “the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

Students wanted a statement condemning the “genocide” and asked if the University would “demand a cease fire.” “We’re not getting into the politics of what’s happening around the world,” Pearigen replied. “We don’t do that. I want to focus on what you asked us to focus on … I’d like to have this concluded by four o’clock today.”

“You’re asking us to move without our demands actually having been met,” a student objected. The students on the Chapel roof complained they were unable to hear and requested a written copy of the University’s response. Pearigen agreed to provide the document, but he stressed, “It’s time for us to get back to business … what’s happening up there is not good. It’s not safe. I share liability. I cannot continue to allow this behavior.” He cited the Code of Conduct which prohibited “disruption” of events and specifically forbid being on rooftops and balconies of the Chapel. “If things don’t move quickly, there will be the possibility of suspension or expulsion … I’ll be back at two … I want you off the roof by four.”

At the two o’clock meeting, Pearigen apologized for his “time to get back to business” remark, conceding “This [situation] building a better world is our business.” The students still had not received a written copy of the University’s commitments. Pearigen said he would release the statement to the entire community and would extend the deadline to five o’clock. He also offered to let the students relocate to the lawn of Spence Hall reiterating his safety concerns. “The level of tension is increasing. Tragic circumstances are playing out on campuses across the country.”

“We need guaranteed amnesty for everyone on the roof,” said Wilcox, “A guarantee in writing … We appreciate you extending the deadline, but a few hours is not enough time [to review the University’s statement of commitments]. And we’d like to review the amnesty document with our lawyer. We ask you to extend the deadline to 8 p.m.” Provided the students agreed with both documents, the students would “begin coming out” at eight.

Pearigen, again, agreed. “I have no intention of taking any disciplinary action if nothing else happens,” he said.

Throughout the afternoon visitors stopped by to pass along their support, including an antiwar Vietnam War veteran, Tennessee State Representative Aftyn Behn from Nashville. “I was in a group chat, and someone said you started an encampment,” Behn told the students. “I had to come down here.” Asked about how things were going for the Vanderbilt protestors, Behn replied, “Not so well,” unoptimistic about the outcome. “It’s not about antisemitism,” observed one supporter. “It’s about genocide,” replied another. The remarks echoed the comment of rooftop protestor Max McCloud, a University sophomore, in a statement to WKRN News, “This is not an anti-war protest, this is an anti-genocide protest.”

A student who stopped by said he had heard the request for amnesty would not be granted. “I want to walk the line at graduation,” senior Erin Wilcox insisted.

Late that afternoon, the rooftop protestors received both the statement of commitments and an email addressed to the entire student body from Dean of Students Erica Howard granting the protestors amnesty if they left and cleared the building of signs and banners by eight.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the banners came down and the students came out. Their public statement on Instagram declared the protest a “victory.” “The All-Saints’ occupation ended tonight after University administration agreed to a partial meeting of protestor demands, as well as full legal and disciplinary amnesty.”

Said Vice-Chancellor Pearigen, “We’re making some substantial changes in our policies, and I appreciate the fact this situation has moved us toward making these commitments.”

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