NASHVILLE, Tenn. – By the end of Tennessee’s 14-day early voting period on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2,280,767 or 51 percent of all register voters had cast their ballot for the Nov. 3 presidential election.
In six Tennessee counties, Cheatham, Davidson, Loudon, Rutherford, Williamson and Wilson, turnout from early and absentee voting has already surpassed the early, absentee and Election Day turnout totals from 2016.
“These record numbers demonstrate voter confidence in the hard work of election officials across the state. County election commissions across the state have worked diligently to administer a safe, sensible and responsible election during early voting and we will see the same thing on Election Day,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
A comprehensive report of in-person or absentee by-mail turnout during the two-week early voting period by county with comparisons to 2016 and 2012 is available on GoVoteTN.com.
“I would like to commend all of the election officials across the state. We would not have seen the record numbers of Tennesseans voting early having a smooth voting experience without their hard work and planning,” said Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Tennesseans can access voter specific information like polling times, locations, sample ballots, election results and more with the GoVoteTN app or with the Website App at GoVoteTN.com. Download the GoVoteTN app for free in the App Store or Google Play.
To cast a ballot, voters need to bring valid photo identification. A Tennessee driver license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee state government or the federal government is acceptable even if it is expired. College student IDs are not acceptable. More information about what types of ID are acceptable can be found on sos.tn.gov or by calling toll free 1-877-850-4959.
While visiting the polls, Tennesseans are encouraged to wear a face covering and maintaining a six-foot distance from poll officials and other voters.
Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) is warning members about recent phone scams impacting several communities, in which the caller demands immediate payment be rendered to avoid disconnection of services.
The phone calls are reported to be from the 615-area code and the callers identify themselves as DREMC personnel. The cooperative reminds members that all calls coming from a legitimate DREMC office will have a 931-area code.
The details of the scam calls vary but have a consistent theme of threatening disconnection if immediate payment is not issued. The following should be considered red flags:
Threatening or abusive language
Requests to issue payment through a gift card or non-DREMC app
Short timeframes to issue a payment
Calls made outside of normal business hours—8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
DREMC will never request that payment be made through any non-DREMC app or through the purchase of gift cards. All payments are handled through the DREMC website, over the phone, or in person at one of the eight district offices.
Members are encouraged to hang up and call their local DREMC office to verify their account status should they receive a phone call requesting a balance be paid.
Qualified families to receive P-EBT cards in mail
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is extending its successful Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program into the fall semester by sending qualifying families a card they can use to buy food for their student who has been impacted by the pandemic. Over 500,000 students received benefits to replace school meals lost during the spring. That’s more than half of all public-school children in the state.
Fall semester P-EBT will provide parents with $5.86 in benefits per student for each school day that child missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic in July, August, and September. These benefits can be used to purchase food at any establishment that accepts EBT or online with Amazon and Walmart.
To be eligible, students must receive free or reduced meals at school or attend a Community Eligibility Provision school and they must have missed at least five consecutive days of in person instruction because of school closure or virtual learning.
TDHS and the Tennessee Department of Education partnered with local school districts to identify students that meet the qualifying criteria and the correct addresses to mail the cards. The department is now in the process of mailing these cards to families.
“P-EBT provided families with important support they needed during the summer and we’re excited to partner with schools to extend the program into the fall semester,” said Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes. “Schools have truly become places families depend upon for nutrition and this program will provide resources to replace those meals while students are taking part in virtual learning. Helping families during this unprecedented time is how we will build a thriving Tennessee.”
For the second round of P-EBT, benefits will be issued on a new card and mailed to the homes of qualifying students. Funds will not be placed on a family’s existing EBT/P-EBT card. Families receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may be eligible for P-EBT during the fall semester.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to approve states for P-EBT. Approved state agencies may operate P-EBT when a school is closed for at least five consecutive days during a public health emergency designation when the school would otherwise be in session. Tennessee is among the more than 40 states that have received P-EBT approval.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.
TDOT Contractor to Temporarily Close U.S. 27 South on and off ramps at MLK Blvd. in Chattanooga, Hamilton County
Friday, October 30, 2020 | 08:11am
Closure to be in effect during the weekend
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Beginning on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 7 p.m. EDT, contract crews working on the U.S. 27 reconstruction project in downtown Chattanooga will close the U.S. 27 southbound on and off ramps at Martin Luther King Blvd. These closures will be in place until Monday, November 2, 2020 at 6 a.m. EST to allow the contractor to complete work on MLK Blvd. near U.S. 27 South.
Motorists should exercise caution when traveling through the construction zone and pay close attention to the posted detours and signage.
This work is weather dependent. Should inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances cause delays, it will be rescheduled to take place at a later date.
From your desktop or mobile device, get the latest construction activity and live-streaming SmartWay traffic cameras at www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic. Travelers can also dial 511 from any landline or cell phone for travel information, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel or Chattanooga area alerts at www.twitter.com/Chattanooga511 or any of TDOT’s other Twitter pages.
As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and “Know Before You Go!” by checking travel conditions before leaving for your destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Leadership changes will occur at the end of the year in the Student Life Division of the University of the South. Dean of Students W. Marichal Gentry, C’86, has decided to pursue new professional opportunities and will leave his position effective Dec. 31, 2020. At the first of the year, Nicole Noffsinger-Frazier, C’97, currently associate dean of health and wellness, will move into her new role of associate provost for student life and dean of students.
After graduating from Sewanee, Noffsinger-Frazier earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Memphis and completed a predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and had a private practice as a psychologist. She returned to the Mountain in 2010 and has served as a staff psychologist, the executive director of University Wellness Center, Psychology Department faculty member, and associate dean. She has established partnerships with other organizations and received significant grant funding to support programs promoting student wellbeing and flourishing.
“Nicole will bring an orientation toward individual student strengths to her position as dean, building on the excellent work done by Marichal,” said Provost Nancy Berner. “She will use her particular background to cultivate a flourishing community where every student is supported holistically to grow and develop. Every Sewanee student—not only those who visit the Wellness Center—will enjoy the benefits of her experience.”
The University will begin a search for the next director of the University Wellness Center, which will remain a cohesive unit as part of the Student Life Division.
Gentry has been a visible presence on campus during his more than five years of service to the University. When he returned to Sewanee, Gentry brought with him not only student life experience from Middlebury College and Yale University, but experience in pediatric social work at Duke University as well. He and his team of student life professionals care for and about Sewanee students and their development as global citizens, and he has been a consistent cheerleader for our students’ success.
Dean of the College Terry Papillon has observed that Gentry has made significant improvements in the Student Life Division, diversifying the student life staff, modernizing procedures, and creating possibilities for increased student leadership. His work has given him the opportunity to engage with nearly every office on campus.
Gentry also has served the Sewanee community in several ways, including by sponsoring Sewanee’s Little League baseball team last year (they honored him by naming the team after him!), and by serving on the Board for Arcadia at Sewanee, whose members are dedicated to building a residential living community to serve older adults.
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
John Hille is on scooping duty, David Goodpaster is in charge of manning the machine used to package the meals and Rick Wright is the mind behind the dishes. Together, the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club, the Sewanee Dining team and the Community Action Committee (CAC) are the manpower behind Kitchen2Table, a new initiative aimed at feeding hungry people and reducing food waste.
The Sewanee community has long been a champion of combating food insecurity, and two years in the making, the Kitchen2Table program is the newest arm of that work. Once a week, the Kitchen2Table team meets in the University kitchens to portion, package and freeze meals that would otherwise be wasted. Since the program officially began in September, the Kitchen2Table team has dispersed more than 80 meals to members in the surrounding community.
“Rotary came on board to help with the funding for the machine, and then the CAC kind of became the engine and host site for the work, as well as partly responsible for finding the distribution channels. This discussion has been happening for quite some time. Right around the time I started at CAC, the grant had been approved. COVID hit and there was a bit of a transition. When I got settled in, I got the green light from Chef Rick. We started [around the beginning of September], and we meet one night a week to package unused portions of one meal each meeting. Out of those unused portions, we’ve been averaging 50 meals in under an hour. The exciting thing is this will just continue to build on itself,” he said.
Wright, director of Sewanee Dining, said the issue of food insecurity on the Mountain has been getting progressively worse over the years. And that was before a global pandemic broadened the scope of the problem.
“With a large food service program, some waste is inevitable, and we’d rather divert that to a need in the community. With the Kitchen2Table meals, we’re able to package a balanced meal and freeze it. Our desire is to use the resources we have to fill a need in the community that gets bigger every year. Since I’ve been involved with the program, we’ve done outreach with the food we don’t use,” he said. “We might have green beans leftover from lunch that wouldn’t be enough for 1,700 students, but it’s enough for 50 people. For those 50 people, that helps to fill a need.”
Wright said it is the team members’ shared hope that eventually community members will be able to take over the production.
“I had a teacher once tell me when I was young that you can’t feed everybody in the world, but you can feed one person and that makes a huge difference. There are small operations that feel like they don’t have enough to give, but even on a one meal basis, that would make a big difference in people’s lives,” Wright said. “It’s not a truly original idea, but it’s a real community effort to reach those in need. We have people from the University who work in different departments that are delivering the food and reaching people. I think the goal is to have this be community-led. We’re hopeful those who want to be involved will step up and make it bigger and take it to other areas. It really takes the whole community to make this happen. I see this as all connected.I think we have a good chance.”
For more information about the Kitchen2Table program, email David Goodpaster at <email@example.com>.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
The Sewanee Community Council took on a full agenda at the Oct. 26 Zoom meeting. The council heard updates on the Community Funding Project, Community Clean-up, and Housing Sewanee, approved a resolution on Race and Reconciliation, and presented a resolution of appreciation to former vice chancellor and council chair John McCardell.
Council member Theresa Shackelford drafted the resolution honoring McCardell. Expressing gratitude for the recognition, McCardell joked about how the council had evolved from dealing with the Environmental House’s pet rooster and a neighbor’s noisy dogs to addressing issues in a manner that responded “to more widespread and community concern.” In closing, McCardell thanked council members for their “friendship, support, and dedication to the welfare of the community.”
Council representative Eric Keen’s resolution, Race and Reconciliation in Sewanee, a Statement of Community Support, underscored the work of the Roberson Project’s research on race and the Board of Regents commitment to make Sewanee a “model of diversity.” The resolution acknowledged “the central role of the chattel and enslavement of African-Americans…in the founding, financing and planning of the University...and the suppression of opportunity for African-American residents.” Among other aims, the resolution called for reconciliation “through conversations on racial, social, and economic justice” and University policies “on fair wages and housing access.”
Council representative Mary Priestley observed “others have something in the game who are different from us” and expressed concern about “having discussions about what doesn’t effect me.” Priestley also questioned whether it was the council’s role to dictate University policy on wages and housing.
Council representative Phil White pointed out “Historically the council arrives at positions on various issues… but we have no legislative power. I see this resolution as a statement of the mind of the present council.”
Providing an update on utilizing the $15,700 available in Community Funding Project money for COVID-19 related needs, council member Kate Reed said she expected it would be “a tough winter.” Reed asked council members to help make nonprofits with COVID needs aware they could apply for funds online via a form at the Lease Office website. Reed also put out a call to council members who wished to serve on the review committee and asked them to contact her via email. Provost Nancy Berner said with the new year there was an additional $10,000 available to the Community Funding Project.
Looking ahead, Priestley said Sallie Green had offered to include expenses for the April Arthur Knoll Community Clean-up in the Lease Office budget. The Lease Office will cover the pickup, materials, and day-end meal costs.
Reporting on Housing Sewanee initiatives, Dixon Myers said the first energy efficient home, recently completed, would reduce the homeowner’s combined mortgage and energy expenses to only $400-$450 per month. The Demonstration Building constructed next to the home showcases the energy-efficient systems the home features. When pandemic restrictions relax, Housing Sewanee will offer tours at the demonstration facility, Myers said. The new energy efficient home is in Sherwood Springs, where Housing Sewanee acquired eight lots as sites for zero-percent interest homes. Historically, Housing Sewanee built homes on University leaseholds where the lessee resided in substandard housing. The project began in 1993. Housing Sewanee has built 18 homes.
Updating the council on cell tower progress, Berner said Vogue Towers was working through the approval process with the State Historic Preservation Office. Plans call for the tower to be operative by mid-2021.
Six council seats are open for election, one in each of the four districts and two at-large seats. Early voting is ongoing at the Lease Office through Oct. 30, during regular business hours. Council representative Anna Palmer will devise a method for residents to vote remotely. On Nov. 3, community council voting takes place at Sewanee Elementary School.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Oct. 26 Monteagle City Council meeting, the council took questions and presented updates on interstate exit lighting, road repair and the proposed Petro Stopping Center. The council also confirmed Halloween parade plans and progress on dealing with unkept property.
Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam said refurbishing the lighting at I-24 exit 134 had been completed and work was underway on the lighting at exit 135. According to Gilliam, the initial estimated cost of the project was $350,000-$400,000, but the city refurbished the lighting rather than replacing it and did the work in-house, cost $10,000. Gilliam projected by the end of the week the lighting at exit 135 would be in service. “We hope this will help increase revenue. Having our exits lit up will show the town of Monteagle is open for business.”
Asked about road repair, specifically Laurel Lake Road, Gilliam said the city was measuring roads and prioritizing projects based on need. “I understand you want it [Laurel Lake Road] paved…8th Street and 2nd Street are in far worse shape.” Gilliam said $65,000 was budgeted for roads, but that would only pave 1,200-1,300 feet. “Revenue is down because of COVID. We’re working on ways to increase the budget.” Gilliam also noted most of the 2018-19 road budget went for repair on Laurel Lake Road and purchase of an access road during the February 2019 flooding. He estimated paving Laurel Lake Road would cost $1.5 million or more.
Speaking to zoning questions related to the proposed Petro Stopping Center, Gilliam said the zoning map would revert back to at least the 2015 version. “We’re working with the state on that. We don’t know how far [the map] will revert back.”
Regarding progress on the proposed travel center, Gilliam said, “A lawsuit has been filed on the town for not signing off on it [the Petro Stopping Center site plan].” City attorney Sarah Bible explained, “It [the law suit] is not for damages, just action.”
A resident objected to grading and excavation work being done at the proposed Petro site. He said he consulted with building inspector Earl Geary. According to the resident, Geary [allegedly] said, ‘They’re skirting the law, not breaking it.’
Gilliam acknowledged the need for and work being done to update city ordinances. “Before, if you wanted to build a service station, you could draw a diagram on a paper sack or cardboard box,” Gilliam said.
Another resident said Geary refused to talk with her regarding concerns about an artesian well at the proposed Petro site. “Let us speak with Mr. Geary,” Gilliam said. “If there’s an issue there he can’t handle, maybe we can hire someone else to come in…We apologize, and we will deal with it.”
“He [Geary] did deal with it,” said Rodney Kilgore, one of the proposed Petro developers. “He served papers on me…You can’t stop me. I have TDEC permits. I’m legal.”
Brian Graber, Kilgore’s partner in the project, asked, “When do you think we might have some sort of resolution?” Gilliam said he expected the Planning Commission to take up the issue at the Nov. 4 meeting.
In other business, Gilliam said trash and debris at a North Bluff Circle location were being cleaned up by the new owners. The former owners sold the property upon receipt of a letter from city attorneys about cleaning up the property. The attorneys had also sent a letter to owners of unkept property on Central Avenue, Gilliam said.
Alderwoman Jessica Blalock, who heads up parks and recreation, announced the Oct. 31 Halloween Parade beginning at noon at Monteagle Elementary School. Children, accompanied by police and fire department personnel, will walk to Harton Park for trunk-or-treat festivities ongoing until 3 p.m.
Sewanee Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety has announced that the university is beginning the process of hiring a chief diversity officer, who will have the title of vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The vice provost will oversee a new Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Provost Nancy Berner will lead a national search for candidates for the position.
Amid America’s own reckoning with systemic racism, the university’s Board of Regents recently called the university to become a “model of diversity, of inclusion, of intellectual rigor, and of loving spirit in an America that rejects prejudice and embraces possibility.” In September, Brigety named several initiatives toward this goal, which will be increasingly important as Sewanee recruits students, as well as faculty and staff, from an ever more diverse pool.
The new vice provost will assess current programs and practices to identify barriers that limit progress in the areas of DEI and will recommend changes; partner with other offices and students to support a welcoming and inclusive campus climate; and ensure that diversity and inclusion initiatives are integrated throughout the university.
“The vice provost will help ensure that Sewanee’s campus climate reflects the University’s deepest value, that of Ecce Quam Bonum,” said Brigety. (“Ecce Quam Bonum” is shorthand for the university’s motto, “Behold how good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.”)
Brigety noted that much great work already has abeen done at Sewanee toward diversity, equity, and inclusion. The chief diversity officer will work with those who are already engaged in these issues, and will coordinate and leverage the University’s various efforts for greater overall effectiveness. “The work to enhance DEI at the University of the South will be integrated in everything we do—how we recruit students and prepare them for the world, how we achieve academic excellence, how we recruit and support faculty and staff, and how we interact with our neighbors and the world,” he said. “I’m excited to continue this work together.”
The University of the South is establishing its own testing lab on campus to provide greater capacity and faster processing for COVID-19 tests administered to students, faculty, and staff.
The idea to establish a lab on campus resulted from exploring ways to help make Sewanee’s existing COVID-19 testing program more efficient. Using our own lab will allow the University to scale according to our unique needs, as well as expand testing into different categories. The new Sewanee lab will be located in Spencer Hall.
Alyssa Summers will be the technical director of the Sewanee Molecular Diagnostics Lab and oversee the day to day operations, while both she and Clint Smith will work as molecular lab specialists to process samples. The goal is to be operational at some point in December, and to manage the University’s COVID-19 testing next semester. Both Summers and Smith will continue to have faculty duties in the Department of Biology; Summers also will continue as the director of the Office of Medical and Health Programs.
The University’s investment in the lab signifies its belief in testing as one vital strategy to continue having students reside safely on campus, as well as its commitment to the safety of the Sewanee community. It also demonstrates confidence in providing an on-campus learning experience during the 2021 spring semester.
National Public Radio reported recently that only 6 percent of colleges with in-person instruction this fall are routinely testing all of their students, and more than two-thirds “have no clear testing plan or are testing only students who are at risk.” The University understands that testing alone is not a full response to the pandemic, but it is a critical component of our strategy, along with #ProtectTheBubble, emphasizing the 3 W’s, holding some classes outdoors, changes in dining operations, and the other steps we have taken this fall.
When operational, the lab initially will focus on processing student and employee COVID-19 tests. In 2021, the lab will be able to serve University Health Services by testing for other illnesses in addition to COVID-19 (e.g., strep, HIV, and the flu). Having a clinical lab on campus brings with it not only the ability to be responsive and agile in our testing strategy but also offers new opportunities. There is the potential for new research endeavors with the medical community and clinical outreach with community partners, as well as new opportunities for students through internships and potential post-graduate programming.
The University extends congratulations to the team that has worked so hard to take the Sewanee Molecular Diagnostics Lab from an idea to reality. The new lab is perfectly aligned with Sewanee’s strategy for the future, which includes the wellness of the student body as one of its pillars.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Oct. 20 meeting, the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners weighed pursuing capital improvements in 2021 which would forestall increased expenses in the future. The board also discussed the status of the plan to narrow Highway 41A and the upcoming commissioner election.
Commenting on revenue projections in the 2021 budget, SUD Manager Ben Beavers said he reviewed averages for the past five years and past eight years and based 2021 estimated revenue at just below the midpoint. Although 2020 revenue year-to-date was 5 percent below budget, it was still within the eight-year average, Beavers said. Tap fees sales had boosted 2020 revenue, and water and sewer sales were up compared to August of last year. Beavers speculated the August 2020 increase might be due to more handwashing.
Beavers recommended spending $35,000 for leak detection in 2021 in the hope of reducing unaccounted for water loss. Unaccounted for water loss is the difference between water produced at the plant and water passing through customer meters, meaning SUD is not paid for the water. Unaccounted for water loss has averaged 30 percent for 2020. Beavers said the pattern suggests the cause is leaks, not faulty metering.
Taking up another future-expense issue, the board advised Beavers to include an additional big-ticket item on the 2021 budget: a filtration screen for the wastewater collection headworks at Bob Stewman Road, estimated cost $125,000. The headworks screen is needed to block toilettes and masks from clogging the collection system grinder pumps and spray field pumps at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Replacing the Bob Stewman grinder pump alone would cost $12,000, Beavers said. “For the long-term health of the pumps, the headworks screen will be money well spent. The screen will add 40 percent to the life of the pumps.”
The 2021 budget also includes $194,508 for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) project to narrow Highway 41A. Beavers recently consulted with TDOT and learned no one had bid on the project. Beavers was advised the earliest the project would be rebid was in December. TDOT is considering combining the Sewanee project with other projects to make it more attractive to bidders. Beavers said SUD is required to hold a sum equal to the estimated cost of the project in reserve in Local Government Investment Pool accounts. “It’s still our money, but we can’t get to it,” Beavers said.
Looking to administrative concerns, the board discussed the January commissioner election. SUD is seeking candidates for the open seat currently held by President Charlie Smith. Smith will seek re-election. By law, SUD must present a slate of three nominees. Commissioner candidates must be SUD customers. Commissioners earn a $50 stipend for each meeting they attend. Potential candidates should contact Beavers at the SUD office, (931) 598-5611.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of interviews with some of the local candidates running for office.
On Nov. 3, Sewanee residents will elect six members to the Sewanee Community Council, one member in each of the four districts and two-at large members. Council members are elected for a four-year term. The candidates were asked to address the following questions: How long have you lived in Sewanee?; Why are you running for the council?; and What special qualifications or skills will you bring to the position?
Geoffrey M. Smith, Candidate for District 1
Geoffrey Smith is dean of students at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, where he serves as co-chair of the humanities department and coaches boys’ varsity soccer. He teaches a place-based course in American Studies as well as electives on Southern Appalachian history, the Holocaust, and research methods. Smith has been recognized for teaching excellence by Humanities Tennessee and the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. Among other projects, Smith has examined the themes of religion, labor, childhood, and the transition to adulthood in the work of James Agee. Smith taught previously at All Saints’ Academy in Winter Haven, Fla. He is a graduate of the University of the South and lives on the SAS campus in the historic Father Flye House.
June Weber, Candidate for District 1
I moved to Sewanee permanently in 2006 after visiting frequently in the past. A native of Louisiana, I attended Louisiana State University. My first career was as an elementary school teacher, but I soon discovered real estate. I have been a licensed real estate agent and broker over 49 years. I have held many local and regional positions in the real estate industry and sat on many statewide committees. I am the mother of a Sewanee graduate and a Rhodes graduate. Locally, I have been involved in many organizations. I am a past president of the Sewanee Woman’s Club and active in the Morton Memorial United Methodist Food Ministry and other church projects. I support the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance and many other activities here on the Plateau. I look forward to continuing service on the Sewanee Community Council and working with our new Mayor, Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety.
Bruce Manuel, Candidate for District 2
I moved to Sewanee in 2016 after I retired from working as a civil servant in the Department of Defense. Prior to that career, I served in the Navy for 20 years. A friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in running for a seat on the council and, after some thought, I decided to do so. Like other residents who are also alumni, I believe it provides me a unique perspective when it comes to fostering a healthy relationship between the community and the University. My many years in the military and working for the federal government helped me develop useful interpersonal and leadership skills. This experience can be a valuable asset to any group.
Louis Rice, Candidate for District 3
My wife Sandy and I retired to Sewanee in June 2015, following my 30-plus year career in university development. I worked five years at Sewanee, 12 at the University of Illinois, and 15 at Georgia Tech. I was born in Sewanee, as were my mother and grandmother.I graduated from the University in 1973. In 1983, I left practicing law in Atlanta to work for the University in the Office of Development to start Sewanee’s Planned Giving Program. I bring to the Community Council the perspective of a native son, an alumnus, an employee of the University, and now a resident retiree. I currently serve on the Board of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance and have been Superintendent of Abbo’s Alley since 2016. Serving on the Community Council is yet another way I can give back to Sewanee. I would be proud to represent District 3 in that capacity.
Lynn Stubblefield, Candidate for District 3
We moved to Sewanee in October of 1982. We chose Sewanee because we wanted a family and wanted to raise them in the most perfect community we could find. Thirty-eight years later, I’m still here. I am running for the District 3 seat on the Sewanee Council because I care about the present as well as the future of Sewanee. It is important that your voice be heard. I care about all of Sewanee, not just the campus. I feel you need a representative who is familiar with the many aspects of our community. I am a member of the Sewanee Business Alliance, Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary, the Retail Academy, and Otey Parish. I have served on the board of the Civic Association, and as a realtor for 35 years. I am a constant volunteer. I am asking for your vote.
Phil White, Candidate for District 4
I came to Sewanee as a student in 1959 and never left. I have always maintained close relationships with both University employees and local residents.I have been an active member of the Council for three terms and played an active role in lowering the transfer fee, solving the airport light issue, and building and managing a dog park. I wish to continue to work hard for the good of the community.
Bill Harper, At-Large Candidate
I graduated from the University as an economics major in 1978, my wife (Knowles) in 1979 and my boys in 2007 and 2010. I spent my career with various Wall Street firms as a financial advisor in the DC area. While there, I was involved in a number of church and nonprofit leadership roles. In 2006 we bought a second home in Sewanee, becoming residents in 2009 as I learned to work remotely. I retired 2 years ago. In addition to University volunteer activities, including currently serving as a trustee, I co-chaired the Community Chest drive with Knowles and established the Civic Association’s Opportunity Fund, for which I serve as chairman of the investment committee. I have also served on the South Cumberland Community Fund board. If elected, I believe I will be an effective advocate for this warm, inclusive community of which I am proud to be a member.
Ed Hawkins, At-Large Candidate
My family and I moved to Sewanee Christmas Day, 2007. I immediately became interested in our local businesses. Formerly, I was a Senior VP in the Commercial and Consumer sectors for Wachovia, now Wells Fargo Bank, and have held positions ranging from Head of Marketing to Chief Financial Officer. I’m currently a real estate professional and partner at The Blue Chair and University Realty. A founding member of the Sewanee Business Alliance, I worked to create a team of business owners that work together for the good of our community. I also assisted in forming a village partnership between the SBA and University and helped advance the Angel Park vision, Friday Nights in the Park, AngelFest, the Light Up the Village festival and the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. I’m eager to help the town and University succeed together and to serve in a new capacity as a Community Council member.
Augustine “Spike” Hosch, At-Large Candidate
Spike is a 2012 graduate of the college, returned to the Mountain in 2015, and has lived in Sewanee since. In serving Sewanee and its neighboring communities as an AmeriCorps VISTA, as the president of the Grundy County Rotary, as the treasurer of the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace, and on the board of the South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce, Spike recognizes the importance of including perspectives from stakeholders across the Mountain in the Community Council. Spike cares deeply about his adopted home and thinks he can continue the accessible and responsible representation demonstrated by past at-large council members. Whetherelected or not, Spike frequently can be found at the Phil White Dog Park with his fluffy dog, Mavis.
John C. Solomon, At-Large Candidate
John Solomon, born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, came to the United States in 1966 to attend college at Sewanee where he received a B.A. in Economics.In 2008, following a 34-year banking career in St. Louis, John was offered the opportunity to return to Sewanee to restart the Pastoral Spanish program at the School of Theology.After retiring in 2017, he focused on family, local volunteer roles, outdoor activities, and travel. During his recent tenure as President of the Rotary Club of Monteagle-Sewanee, John became increasingly aware of the needs, and opportunities to address these needs, in the local area.He sees communication, public awareness, and bringing people and resources together as the best way to address these.
It is John’s love for this community that drives him to run for an at-large position on the Community Council, where he hopes to continue offering his time and talent.
Bess Turner, At-Large Candidate
Bess Turner moved to Sewanee in June of 2012 and began working for the University that same summer in the Office of Admissions, while also maintaining a small real estate practice with Gooch Beasley. In 2015, she transitioned to University Relations to work on the capital campaign and now serves as the Director of Development, Alumni, and Church Relations for the School of Theology. Bess and her husband, Chris Crigger, are parents to four teenagers, three of whom attend St. Andrew’s–Sewanee. Bess has been an active supporter of the sustainable development of the Sewanee Village, serving on the Village Advisory Board and the Sewanee Business Alliance. She believes that a vibrant local economy, along with accessible housing options for all Sewanee residents, will help the University attract and retain faculty, staff, and students, and will cultivate a community with a strong sense of belonging.
Early voting for the Sewanee Community Council candidates continues at the Lease Office (The Blue House), 400 University Ave., Sewanee, through Oct. 30, during regular business hours. Election Day voting, Nov. 3, will be at the Sewanee Elementary School.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“The zoning was done in error and needs corrected,” said Monteagle attorney Jerry Bible at the Oct. 19 Monteagle Council workshop, paraphrasing the opinion of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) on zoning maps approved by ordinance in 2018 and 2019. “If the city is still in favor of making those [zoning map] changes, you should go through the process with proper notification.”
The MTAS opinion stated: “The town did not comply with the statutory and ordinance procedural requirements.” Monteagle ordinances require notice of a hearing on zoning map changes must be published in a local newspaper 15 days prior to the meeting. Fifteen-day notification was not given for the 2018 and 2019 zoning map hearings.
Attorney Sarah Bible said the Monteagle zoning map would revert back to the 2015 version.
“We’ve checked back and we don’t think the 2015 map is correct either,” said Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam.
Following the workshop, Gilliam explained a 15-day public hearing notice did not appear to have been given for the 2015 zoning map changes made by the prior administration.
The 2018 ordinance also included zoning regulations. Discussing the course of action the Planning Commission would follow, Chair David Oliver said, “We weren’t planning on adopting that [the 2018] map. We were just going to review [the regulations] and make any minor changes to the language of the ordinance.”
Sarah Bible pointed out the 2018 ordinance added the requirement of by mail notification to adjacent landowners for zoning map changes. “Calling for land owner notification is not in the Tennessee Code,” Bible said. “I don’t know where that came from.”
Oliver said the notification-to-landowners stipulation was added because of possible air quality concerns when zoning for a cement plant was under consideration.
Sarah Bible said some municipalities were requiring by mail notification to adjacent land owners. She stressed that to adopt the 2018 ordinance regulations, no by-mail notification was required. Because the 2018 ordinance had not been adopted, the stipulation of by-mail notification was not currently in effect, and even if it had been, the by-mail notification clause applies only to zoning map boundaries changes.
In other business, the council discussed getting sealed bids for the purchase of a new backhoe for the water plant to replace the out-of-service 25-year-old backhoe. Regarding concerns about a large trash pile at the former Blalock Building Supplies location and unkept property on North Bluff Circle, Gilliam recommended the city attorneys send letters to the property owners giving them 30 days to address the problems.
Gilliam also recommended temporarily tabling the plan to purchase a generator for the police department. Research revealed a three-phase generator was needed rather than a single-phase generator, which would nearly double the anticipated $6,000 cost. “We need to check around for a better price,” Gilliam said.
Informed by the Water Department about a developer’s request for service, Gilliam said the engineering would need to be done by the state since the property was outside the town’s Urban Growth Area.He predicted the cost to the developer would be “very expensive,” since the developer would need to tap into a 6-inch line on the other side of U.S. Highway 41.
No votes were taken at the workshop. The Monteagle City Council will hold its regular meeting on Oct. 26.
Design Simplifies, Streamlines Frequently Requested Data
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee’s Unified Command Group today announced the launch of a new website to provide COVID-19 data, additional health information and relevant updates to Tennesseans. The site is now available at COVID19.tn.gov.
“This new site will help Tennesseans quickly and easily find important information as they navigate decisions for themselves and their families,” said Governor Bill Lee. “We are committed to acting in the most transparent manner possible and are continuously working to ensure we provide timely and relevant data.”
The new COVID19.tn.gov website is designed to streamline and simplify some of the most frequently requested COVID-19 data for both desktop and mobile users. The site offers dashboards and daily reports with state and county-level information including case counts, hospitalizations and tests conducted.
“We’re pleased to offer this new tool to help Tennesseans make decisions about activities for their families, businesses and communities as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “We continue to promote data transparency and provide up-to-date information to Tennesseans to protect their health and prosperity.”
The site offers a screening tool for individuals to assess their risk of COVID-19 and practical tips on how to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee communities. A comprehensive map of testing sites across the state is also included. Information is tailored for groups such as individuals, families, educators and business owners.
The new COVID-19 website supplements information that will remain available on the TDH agency page. TDH will continue to provide updated COVID-19 case counts at 2 p.m. Central time daily.
NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group will open drive through COVID-19 testing sites in three counties Saturday, Oct. 24 to address rising case rates in Tennessee’s rural areas.
“We’ve seen an upward trend in COVID cases in rural Tennessee that are cause for concern,” said Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, Tennessee Department of Health. “Bringing back weekend drive through testing helps with access to testing which will help combat COVID-19’s continued health threat. In addition to testing, Tennesseans need to take simple, yet impactful, precautions - wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing – to protect themselves.”
Saturday’s COVID-19 testing is free to those who want to receive a test. The testing locations are as follows:
Grundy County High School
Coalmont, TN 37313
Fentress County Senior Citizens Center
308 South Main St.
Jamestown, TN 38556
Dyersburg High School
125 US-51 Bypass
Dyersburg, TN 38024
Testing sites will be open from 9 a.m. to noon local time, and will remain open until all vehicles in line have received tests. The testing events Saturday in Grundy, Fentress, and Dyer counties will begin an ongoing effort, through the fall, to bring weekend, drive through COVID-19 testing opportunities to rural Tennesseans. These efforts will include notification of results and
contact with the health department to provide education on isolation and quarantine recommendations that are important parts of slowing the spread of the virus.
Tennessee National Guard medics and TDH personnel will be at each rural testing site to collect nasal swabs from those who voluntarily agree to a COVID-19 test.
Participants should receive their test results within 72 hours, depending on test processing volume at laboratories. Information will be provided to participants at the testing locations on what they can expect after being tested. This information is also available at: www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novelcoronavirus/TestedGuidance.pdf.
Governor Lee formed the UCG on March 23, 2020, bringing together the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Military, and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to streamline coordination across key Tennessee departments to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.