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tnconnections Winter 2012-13

An Official Publication of Your Locally Owned Municipal Electric System

King of Cool

Chef Matt Simonds discovers the business of ice carving

Honoring the Heritage

Civil War Trails send travelers into the history-rich Tennessee countryside

Winter’s Festive Flavors Celebrate the holidays with sweet treats

tn almanac

Travel, tips and tidbits at a glance

©2012 The Elephant Sanctuary

Molasses for Elephants Everyone knows “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” and the same is true for the elephants who live at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald. That’s why Grandma’s Molasses, a product of B&G Foods Inc., donates an annual supply of molasses to the sanctuary. There, the molasses is used to entice old, sick and needy elephants to take their medicines and dietary supplements by concealing their taste with its sweet, sugary goodness. The molasses is also a great source of iron, calcium and potassium for the gentle giants. As part of their sponsorship of The Elephant Sanctuary, Grandma’s Molasses features an Elephant of the Month on their website, with a specific elephant’s name, photo, height, weight, favorite food and details about its personality. See the current Elephant of the Month at

Boughs of Holly The approaching holiday season means it’s time to incorporate holly into your home decor and landscaping projects. Holly fans can explore more than 200 cultivars of the festive plant at the University of Tennessee Arboretum in Oak Ridge. The arboretum’s Elmore Holly Collection is a research and display garden honoring the late Harold Elmore, a world-renowned holly expert who was often called “Mr. Holly.” Holly in the collection is grouped according to species and hybrid associations, and visitors can see it along Arboretum Road near the Heath Cove Trail, one of the arboretum’s self-guided walking trails. The University of Tennessee Arboretum Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday, and the arboretum grounds are open for walking daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. There are eight self-guided walking trails of varying lengths, beginning at a quarter of a mile.

Sharp Dressed Men If you want to dress to impress this winter, check out the clothing racks at Lansky Brothers, a men’s store located in the lobby of The Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. Lansky Brothers has supplied Memphis-area men with the trendiest fashions since 1946, and its clientele has included Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, the Temptations and B.B. King. The store dressed Elvis in the famous gold lamé jacket he wore for his unforgettable hipswiveling performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, and it still offers vintage-inspired clothing fit for a king. Shoppers can also find men’s sportswear and contemporary denim for men and women at Lansky Brothers.


tnconnections Winter 2012-13 Edition Managing Editor Blair Thomas Content Director Jessy Yancey Content Coordinator Rachel Bertone Contributing Writers Rebecca Denton, Roben Mounger, Jessica Mozo Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Creative Services Director Christina Carden Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Martin B. Cherry, Michael Conti, Senior Graphic Designers Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams Graphic Designers Erica Lampley, Kara Leiby, Kacey Passmore Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Sr. V.P./Sales Todd Potter Sr. V.P./Operations Casey Hester Sr. V.P./Agribusiness Publishing Kim Holmberg V.P./External Communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens Controller Chris Dudley Integrated Media Manager Robin Robertson Distribution Director Gary Smith Receptionist Linda Bishop Tennessee Connections is published quarterly by Journal Communications Inc. for participating members of the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association. TMEPA represents 61 municipal power distributors in Tennessee, which serve more than 2 million customers. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067. Phone: 615-771-0080.E-mail: For information about TMEPA, contact: Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association Paddock 1, Suite C-13, 229 Ward Circle Brentwood, TN 37027 Phone 615-373-5738, Fax 615-373-1901 Executive Director Mike Vinson

©Copyright 2012 Journal Communications Inc. and Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. ON THE COVER: Chocolate Pots de Crème, Jeffrey S. Otto

4 Features 4 King of Cool

Chef Matt Simonds discovers a cool hobby and business in ice carving

6 Festive Flavors

Celebrate the holidays with seasonal sweets and treats

9 Honoring the Heritage

Civil War Trails program sends travelers into the beautiful Tennessee countryside

12 The Golden One tnconnections Digital Magazine Winter 2012-13

An Official Publication of Your Locally Owned Municipal Electric System

King of Cool

Chef Matt Simonds discovers the business of ice carving

Honoring tHe Heritage

Civil War trails send travelers into the history-rich tennessee countryside

Winter’s festive flavors

Flip through the pages of the magazine without leaving your laptop. Print and email articles and instantly link to advertisers.

These sweet rolls bring families together

Departments 2 Municipal Power Perspective 3 Tennessee in Focus 14 Winter Activities in Tennessee 17 Connect to Tennessee Products

Celebrate the holidays with sweet treats

Winter 2012-13



municipal power perspective


Lessons for Legislators Power companies invite newly-elected legislators to learn about public power

Katie Hitt Director of Government Relations Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association

The November elections have come and gone, and with that a host of new legislators in Tennessee. We have been working on our legislative involvement and building relationships with legislators. While some legislators remain the same, either being re-elected or being in a seat that was not up for election, there are many new faces across the state. At TMEPA, our member systems are working to invite legislators to visit their local power company. During these visits, the power company manager and staff will help educate the legislator about public power – how the power system works, challenges we face and what can be done to help public power continue to provide exceptional service at the lowest possible price. Being involved in the legislative process is important. Legislators are public servants who spend a great amount of time working to represent their constituents (you!). Educating legislators and offering input on legislation is crucial to helping them understand possible implications to public power. To do this successfully, we must first have good working, trustworthy relationships. While TMEPA works on this, you can too. It is important to register to vote. 2


To learn about voter registration and what is involved in getting registered, check out the Secretary of State’s website at election/registration.htm. There, you can find registration requirements, application forms, information on how to register in person and more. Find out who your legislators are, introduce yourself (make sure to let them know you are their constituent and a registered voter), tell them about issues important to you. Issues of importance can vary widely. When talking to your legislators we urge you to remind them of the vital services public power provides. The legislature has an award-winning website,, that can help you find your legislators, learn about individual legislators, research bills, see calendars, vote counts and more. As we enjoy the holiday season that is upon us, there are many things to be thankful for. Included among them are public servants from elected officials such as legislators to the men and women working to keep your power on. As you see these folks working please remember to tell them they are appreciated and you are thankful for the work they do.

Alcoa Electric Department Athens Utilities Board Benton County Electric System Bolivar Energy Authority Bristol Tennessee Essential Services Brownsville Utility Department Carroll County Electrical Department Electric Power Board of Chattanooga CDE Lightband – Clarksville Cleveland Utilities Clinton Utilities Board Columbia Power & Water System Cookeville Department of Electricity Covington Electric System Dayton Electric Department Dickson Electric System Dyersburg Electric System Elizabethton Electric Department Erwin Utilities Etowah Utilities Department Gallatin Department of Electricity Greeneville Light & Power System Harriman Utility Board Humboldt Utilities Jackson Energy Authority Jellico Electric & Water Systems Johnson City Power Board Knoxville Utilities Board LaFollette Utilities Lawrenceburg Utility Systems Lenoir City Utilities Board Lewisburg Electric System Lexington Electric System Loudon Utilities City of Maryville Electric Department McMinnville Electric System Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division Milan Department of Public Utilities Morristown Utility Commission Mount Pleasant Power System Murfreesboro Electric Department Nashville Electric Service Newbern Electric Department Newport Utilities City of Oak Ridge Electric Department Paris Board of Public Utilities Pulaski Electric System Ripley Power and Light Company Rockwood Electric Utility Sevier County Electric System Shelbyville Power System Smithville Electric System Sparta Electric System Springfield Electric Department Sweetwater Utilities Board Trenton Light & Water Department Tullahoma Utilities Board Union City Electric System Weakley County Municipal Electric System Winchester Utilities

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tn in focus Staff photo

Pine cones for sale at Santa’s Place in Woodlawn

Winter 2012-13




King of

Cool Chef Matt Simonds discovers cool hobby and business in ice carving

story by Rebecca Denton and Jessica Mozo


fter a 12-hour day as executive chef at the Hilton Downtown Nashville Hotel, Matt Simonds often drives to his home in La Vergne, grabs a chainsaw and heads to the walk-in freezer in his basement. In the 15-degree freezer, he’ll carve intricate shapes out of 310-pound blocks of ice – sometimes working for 10 hours straight. “Sometimes I’ll carve through the night,” he says. “Or I’ll carve on my days off.” That determination – and occasional sleep deprivation – is all part of the niche side business he has carved in ice. Through his Nashville company, Specialty Ice Carvings, Simonds can recreate a corporate logo (and just about anything else) in a sculpture. One



of his most popular ice creations is a luge – an ice slide through which someone pours a drink and catches it at the bottom in a glass. “I did one for a bar mitzvah, and it went like wildfire after that party,” he says. “It’s the number-one piece I do, hands-down. They’re a lot of fun, and they get people involved.”

Breaking the Ice

A native of Hawaii, Simonds started his culinary career through an apprenticeship at The Greenbriar, a five-diamond luxury resort and hotel in West Virginia. The art of ice carving caught his eye, and a fellow chef taught Simonds the basics. Soon he was competing in ice carving competitions, which led to an internship with Mark

Daukas, an international ice-carving champion. Simonds says he wasn’t a natural – it took a lot of practice. “When I first started, I couldn’t draw a stick figure to save my life,” he says. “I had no artistic ability whatsoever. It’s more patience than anything, and learning to use the tools. You start picking up on movement and flow and symmetry.”

Sweating in a Freezer

At his Rutherford County home, Simonds uses an electric chainsaw, die grinders and hand-sanders to shape huge blocks of ice inside one walk-in freezer, and he uses a second freezer to store the ice. “When you carve in the freezer, every cut stays, and you can make the piece perfect,” he says.

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If a sculpture is larger than the ice block, he “welds” pieces of ice together with water after using warm aluminum plates to flatten the two surfaces to be joined. To perfect his carvings, Simonds makes a template of the design using newsprint and an opaque projector. He draws the design, freezes the paper to the ice, and cuts the design out with a chainsaw, refining it with other tools. A hydraulic lift aids him in moving the blocks up and down so he can shape the ice more easily. “Believe it or not, I sweat up a storm in the freezer,” Simonds says. His typical carving gear includes snow boots, sweatpants, ski suit, gloves and a hooded jacket.

State Champion Carver

Simonds moved to Tennessee in 1990 and became involved in the National Ice Carving Association. In 1992, he won $18,000 in competitions, and he landed the Tennessee state title seven years in a row. He finished second in the nationals one year and judged the national competition in 2002. Now 46 years old with a family – including his wife, Lynn, and their four children – Simonds rarely competes, but he spends his spare time carving motorcycles, corporate logos, swans, mermaids, snowmen and just about anything else someone wants in ice. One of his major clients is Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, for which he creates ice sculptures to be used at events and as decor for cold buffet tables. Simonds views ice carving as a spin-off of his training as a chef – a blend of artistic creation, presentation and old-fashioned hard work. “If it wasn’t for being a chef, I wouldn’t have gotten into ice,” he says. “They go hand in hand.”

National champion ice carver Matt Simonds works on a sculpture in his LaVergne home. Winter 2012-13



cover story

Festive Flavors story by Rachel Bertone photography by Jeffrey S. Otto From the Cover


long with wintry weather, lively get-togethers and Christmas music playing on every radio station, the holidays bring with them delicious, seasonal sweets and treats. From cookies, cakes and pies to fudge and peppermint candies, these yearly confections are something to look forward to when the winter months roll around. Need something quick and easy for your office holiday party? Try the simple, yet scrumptious Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Drizzle. Chocolate Pots de Crème are another decadent indulgence your family and friends will love. Add these festive flavors to your table this year for a tasty way to celebrate the season.

Hungry for More? Visit our sister site,, for more holiday recipes such as Apple Gingerbread and Peppermint Fudge:



Chocolate Pots de Crème Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 4 hours (including refrigeration) Yield: 11 ramekins (3-ounce size) or 6 ramekins (5-ounce size)

2 cups heavy cream 6 large egg yolks 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 5 ounces dark chocolate 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur Combine egg yolks and cream in a mixing bowl, and whisk until combined. Put cream and egg mixture into a heavy-bottom saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is warm, then add chocolate and butter. Continue heating, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and reaches 170 degrees on a thermometer. Stir in liqueur. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any egg particles. Pour into ramekins and let chill for 3 to 4 hours until set. Optional: Top with whipped cream, orange zest and a shortbread cookie before serving.

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Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate Drizzle Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Yield: 6-8 large cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar, plus additional sugar for coating dough ž cup canola oil 1 large egg Ÿ cup mild-flavored (light) molasses 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Beat sugar and canola oil in another large bowl until pale in color, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Roll two tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball, then roll in sugar to coat. Repeat, forming about 6-8 dough balls. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet (cookies will spread). Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges and cracked on top, about 12 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes on sheet; transfer cookies to rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted. Dip fork into chocolate and drizzle over cookies. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 10 minutes.

Winter 2012-13




Honoring the Heritage Civil War Trails program sends travelers into the beautiful Tennessee countryside

story by Jessica Mozo


staff photo

any battlefields across the state spent 2012 hosting events honoring their 150th anniversaries. But it’s not too late to get involved with the sesquicentennial paying tribute to Tennessee’s rich Civil War history. Consider revisiting that dramatic era by traveling the Civil War Trails, a program established by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development with the help of a federal grant in 2006. The program is responsible for placing historical markers around the state, which highlight Civil War events that took place in certain areas. There are more than 141 historical markers in the ground already with more sites continually being added. “We are fascinated by the idea of family members fighting on different sides and by the fact that Americans took up arms against themselves,” says Carroll Van West, director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area in Murfreesboro and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “The war touched every county in Tennessee, either directly through the battles or through the families involved. So many people have old family stories about the war that get passed on from generation to generation.” Tennessee’s role in the Civil War was monumental, and dozens of the state’s battlefields and war-related Monuments in Shiloh National Military Park honor soldiers. Winter 2012-13



Staff photo



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Staff photo Jeffrey S. OTTO

Winter 2012-13

sites have become parks and museums in the years since. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development printed the first statewide Civil War self-guided tour maps in 2009, sending Civil War tourists into the beautiful Tennessee countryside. The Civil War Trails program not only provides structure for tourists exploring Tennessee’s war-related destinations – it also generates more tourism dollars flowing into Tennessee communities large and small. And it’s a great way for communities to learn more about their local history. Tennessee claims the secondlargest number of battles after Virginia including some of the bloodiest skirmishes at battlefields such as Shiloh and Stones River. “The Shiloh conflict in April 1862 is considered the battle that told all Americans this war would be long, bloody and costly,” Van West says. “It was also a pivotal battle for control of West Tennessee and northern Mississippi.” The Battle of Stones River at Murfreesboro was the deadliest of all Tennessee battles with the highest number of casualties on both sides. “At Stones River, the Confederate army under General Braxton Bragg missed an opportunity to level a decisive blow,” Van West says. “Stones River left the Union army intact and able to plan a series of summer maneuvers that would help it gain control of Middle Tennessee.”

Other milestone battles happened at Chattanooga, Franklin and Nashville. “The Union victory at Chattanooga in late 1863 opened the door for the March to Atlanta. General Ulysses S. Grant emerged as the hero and moved on to command in Virginia, where he defeated Robert E. Lee,” Van West explains. “The Franklin and Nashville battles, roughly two weeks apart in late 1864, crushed the Confederate army of Tennessee and left the Union in control of the entire state.” The vast number of sites to see in Tennessee can be overwhelming even to the most well-read Civil War buff. Two great places to start are the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville and the Museum of East Tennessee History in Knoxville, both of which feature outstanding exhibits about Tennessee’s involvement in the Civil War. “Next, visit at least four of the state’s Civil War national parks – Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Stones River and Chickamauga-Chattanooga,” Van West suggests. Still yearning for more? Tennessee Civil War Trails map guides are available at all 14 Tennessee Welcome Centers and at each of the Civil War Trails communities. You can request the map guide online at and or by calling (615) 532-7520.

Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh and the Dickson-Williams Mansion in Greeneville are just a couple of many stops on Tennessee’s Civil War Trails. The trails honor Tennessee’s influential role in the Civil War, marking its sesquicentennial from 2011 through 2015.



taste of tn

The Golden


These sweet rolls bring families together

story by Roben Mounger photography by Jeffrey S. Otto

About the Author Roben Mounger, known as Ms. Cook, has a penchant for searching out locally produced ingredients for her family’s meals. For some 15 years, she has eaten year round by way of CSAs and farmers markets. In 2009, she began an organic farm internship with Arugula’s Star of Neal Family Farms. Roben writes a weekly column about food and people for The Columbia Daily Herald and blogs about eating locally at 12



tune from Brownie Girl Scouts lingers – “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” I claim wisdom because I crossed into golden territory. That is to say, I am old enough to have earned some old friends by being one myself. Someone comes to mind. Decades ago, my husband and I relocated to a new home in Mississippi. The residents were a mix of old and young, living life at the opposite ends of the spectrum within learning distances from each other. The week of our move, the first to welcome me, from across the street, was a young and beautiful friend-to-be. She came to our door in her housecoat, submitting bran muffins. As if this was not enough to win my devotion, we recalled that we had been ensconced in the same hospital, the same week, for the birth of our first child, as told to us by mutual friends who visited us after our deliveries. Five years passed in a twinkle. We each had another child, and we walked. We

cooked dinner, volunteered and we walked. We arranged neighborhood gatherings and plotted our families’ futures. We walked. Woven throughout was commonality for the ideals of child raising. We contrived a village and considered neighborhood children to be members of our extended family. Alas, my husband and I recast ourselves as Tennesseans. Heartbreak was mine as our station wagon pulled away from the neighborhood into the future. Recently, my daughter was in her daughter’s wedding, and we found ourselves in the chapter where some things never change. I can still envision Saturday morning glimpses of my friend’s husband, through the kitchen window, preparing a masterpiece – his Golden Sweet Rolls recipe – for our children and theirs. Even though the children usually feasted in pajamas, my daughter recalls on occasion wearing her Easter dress to partake in the gooey richness. “Those sweet rolls were worthy of my finest,” she says.

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Golden Sweet Rolls 1 (¼ ounce) envelope active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ cup warm water ½ cup butter, softened ½ cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup milk 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 4 ½ cups bread flour ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼-½ cup bread flour honey topping 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped fresh orange glaze

Combine first three ingredients in a 1-cup glass container, and let stand for 5 minutes. Beat the butter with an electric stand mixer (paddle attachment) until creamy. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and salt, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, milk and lemon juice, beating until blended. Stir in yeast mixture. Combine 4 ½ cups bread flour and nutmeg, and gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. Turn dough onto a surface floured with about 1/4 cup bread flour; knead for 5 minutes, adding additional bread flour as needed. Place dough in a lightly greased large bowl, turning to grease top of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch down dough; turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Divide dough half into 12 equal pieces; shape each piece, rolling between hands into 8-inch ropes. Wrap each rope into a coil and place rolls in a lightly greased 10-inch cake pan. Repeat procedure with the other half of the dough. Drizzle with honey topping. Let rise, uncovered in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled. Top with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes in the pan. Spoon orange glaze over each pan of rolls. Serve.

Honey Topping 1 ½ cups powdered sugar ½ cup butter, softened ¼ cup honey 2 egg whites Stir together until smooth.

Orange Glaze 2 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons butter, softened 2 teaspoons orange rind, grated 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Beat powdered sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add remaining ingredients, and beat until smooth.

Winter 2012-13




Winter in Tennessee Festivals, celebrations, activities and more in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Space is limited. Please call for reservations. CONTACT: 865-342-9127,

Christmas Candlelight Walk – Dec. 1, Tellico Plains Held in historic downtown Tellico Plains, this event brings the holiday spirit home. See festive storefronts, enjoy delicious treats and listen to carolers dressed in period costumes. CONTACT: 423-442-9147,

Christmas in the City – Dec. 1, Knoxville The city dresses for the holidays with lighted trees and decorations. Enjoy dozens of events including a Christmas parade, holidays on the ice skating rink, a celebration of lights and more. CONTACT:

Monteagle Christmas Parade – Dec. 1, Monteagle Head to this annual holiday parade, starting at 5 p.m., followed by visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, hot chocolate and cookies in the park. CONTACT: 931-924-5353,

The classic Christmas ballet hits the ice for its 25th year. See Nutcracker on Ice in Knoxville. This listing includes a selection of events of statewide interest scheduled in December, January and February as provided by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. To include your local events in our listing, please contact them at Due to space constraints, we are unable to list all of the events provided or accept unsolicited events. However, you can find additional information and events at the department’s website. Events are subject to date change or cancellation. Please call the contact listed before traveling long distances to attend.


Sutton Homestead Winter Wonderland – Nov. 9-Dec. 29, Granville The Sutton Homestead, home of Sutton Ole Time Music Hour, will host weekly Christmas bluegrass dinner shows on Saturday nights during the holiday season. CONTACT: 931-653-4151,

Christmas on the Cumberland – Nov. 20-Jan. 5, Clarksville Join Santa and special guests as they light up the Cumberland River with over one million lights along the River Walk. Enjoy 14


weekend activities throughout the holiday season. CONTACT: 931-645-7476

A Gathering of Quilts: Historical and Contemporary – Dec. 1, Pleasant Hill Sponsored by the Pleasant Hill Historical Society of the Cumberlands, this event features quilt displays, lectures on old fabrics, guilt turnings and refreshments. CONTACT: 931-277-3111

Candle Making Workshop – Dec. 1, Knoxville This hands-on workshop will teach visitors about early American lighting practices and how different types of candles were made

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas – Dec. 3, Knoxville Created by Chip Davis, music act Mannheim Steamroller’s signature sound is classical meets modern-day rock. Celebrate the season with one of the most popular and best-selling holiday acts. CONTACT: 865-215-8900,

25th Annual Nutcracker on Ice – Dec. 4-8, Knoxville Bring the family to the 25th anniversary of this classic Christmas ballet, performed on ice by skaters in the Robert Unger School of Ice Skating at the Ice Chalet. CONTACT: 865-342-9127, nutcrackeronice.htm

Annual Christmas Toy Train Show – Dec. 8, Nashville This annual train and collectibles show features operation layouts, new and used trains from major manufacturers, and train parts and railroad objects. Sponsored by the Music City Chapter Train Collectors Association. CONTACT:

ETHS Holiday Open House – Dec. 8, Knoxville Enjoy this spirited event featuring ornament and craft-making, a visit by Victorian Santa,

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cookies and hot cider, holiday music and more. Admission is free and open to the public. CONTACT: 865-342-9127,

Granville Country Christmas – Dec. 8, Granville Christmas parade, antique toy show, festival of trees exhibit, candlelight walking tour, and weaving and blacksmith shops are just a few of the highlights of this event held at the Sutton General Store, Granville Museum and Granville Gifts & Antiques Shop. CONTACT: 931-653-4151 or

Holiday Tour of Homes – Dec. 9, Jonesborough Tennessee’s oldest town takes you on its annual Holiday Tour of Homes through the famous historic district to view elegantly decorated homes and churches. CONTACT: 432-753-1013,

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Stones River – Dec. 26-Jan. 2, Murfreesboro The fields and forests near Murfreesboro saw one of the bloodiest and most important

Winter 2012-13

battles of the American Civil War. Join park rangers and volunteers for a variety of programs that celebrate the anniversary and tell the story of this tragic event. CONTACT: 615-893-9501

Gatlinburg New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show – Dec. 31-Jan. 1, Gatlinburg

Oaklands Historic House Museum’s Open House: Wedding Dresses Through the Decades Exhibit – Jan. 13, Murfreesboro Visit the museum for their second annual exhibit that will highlight wedding dresses through the decades. CONTACT: 615-893-0022,

Celebrating its 24th anniversary, join in the spectacle as the space needle area at traffic light #8 comes alive at the stroke of midnight with a fabulous fireworks show. CONTACT: 800-568-4748,

Titanic’s 3rd Annual Professional Ice Carving Competition – Jan. 19, Pigeon Forge



Elvis Birthday Celebration – Jan. 3-9, Memphis Honor the King with several days of events, including tours and bingo nights, surrounding the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birthday, January 8. CONTACT: 800-238-2000,

Watch the world’s most celebrated ice sculptors as they chisel 250-pound blocks into impressive designs. CONTACT: 800-381-7670

Annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival – Feb. 1-3, Reelfoot Lake Guided bus and van tours will be offered twice a day to view the majestic Bald Eagles nesting at Reelfoot Lake. The lake features one of the largest populations of Bald Eagles



outside of Alaska. Visitors can also enjoy craft vendors, a silent auction, live birds of prey and other displays throughout the weekend. CONTACT: 731-253-2007,

A Chocolate Affair – Feb. 9, Clarksville A decadent chocolate lover’s dream! Sample chocolate delights from over 30 vendors. CONTACT: 931-645-7476,

National Field Trial Championships at Ames Plantation – Feb. 11-21, Grand Junction Visitors of all ages are encouraged to come out and watch the best bird dogs in the country test their hunting skills, strength and endurance to see who will be the next Grand Champion. CONTACT: 901-878-1067,

Dogwood Arts House & Garden Show – Feb. 15, Knoxville This annual House & Garden Show features more than 200 commercial exhibits featuring innovative home and garden products with professional’s on-hand to provide inspiration for indoor and outdoor design. CONTACT:



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connect to tn products

Statewide roundup of favorite finds Poinsettias Aplenty

All the Pretty Little Horses When John Sprankell of Dayton created a wooden rocking horse for his daughter for Christmas in 1986, he had no idea it would turn into a business that would delight the hearts of thousands of children. But in 1995, Sprankell took a leap of faith and began making and selling heirloom quality rocking horses full time under the business name His Idea Crafts. His first big break came when he and his wife Anna piled their girls and a few of the handmade rocking horses into their car and headed for Gatlinburg. They couldn’t afford a vacation, but they promised the girls if they sold one horse, they’d get a hotel room and stay overnight. They ended up selling all the horses they brought and taking orders for 20 more. From there, you might say the business took off at a gallop. Today, Sprankell has shipped more than 24,000 of his rocking horses to all 50 states and 16 countries. He makes several different sizes and designs including Victorian, Cowboy, Balloon, Patriotic and Noah’s Ark. For more information, visit or call Sprankell at (423) 570-0783.

Poinsettias are a popular commodity during the holidays at PWP Greenhouses in Pall Mall. The company grows 16 varieties of poinsettias with a total of 12,000 colorful plants each year. They begin growing poinsettias in June, and the plants reach their full color in mid-November. The traditional red poinsettia is most popular, but PWP Greenhouses also offers beautiful varieties such as Strawberries and Cream, White Glitter, Peppermint, Jingle Bells and Plum Pudding. They even supply poinsettias for fundraising by 4-H clubs, schools, church groups, cheerleaders and other organizations. For more information, visit or call (800) 841-5210.

Sweet Success Bruce Mott of Alexandria made his Aunt Betty’s old toffee recipe for family and friends every holiday season for more than two decades before realizing its potential for a business opportunity. Recipients of his handmade holiday candy were so enthusiastic about it that in 2003, Mott and his wife Cathy McCook launched Walker Creek Toffee. They have since filled hundreds of pounds of orders for stocking stuffers, corporate gifts and gift tins. Walker Creek Toffee is made the old-fashioned way in small batches, gently stirred in a copper kettle. The ingredients are pure and simple – creamery butter, cane sugar, raw California almonds and Belgian chocolate. To order, visit or call (615) 295-4137. Winter 2012-13



Journal Communications 725 Cool springs Blvd., suite 400 franklin, tn 37067



Lebanon Junction, KY 40150 Permit No. 222

Winter Energy-Saving Tips

Focus on these five areas to stay warm and save money Tennessee residents can keep heating costs low this winter while remaining warm and cozy and enjoying the season – just by making a few simple changes around the home. Hot Water • Use less by installing low-flow showerheads and fixing leaky spouts. • Try using warm or cold water when washing clothes. Washing one large load instead of several small ones can cut costs too. Fireplaces •

To make sure your heat isn’t flowing out the chimney, firmly close the damper – an open damper is equivalent to keeping a full-size window open during the winter.

• Plug and seal your chimney flue if you never use your fireplace. Heating Equipment • Once a month, check your furnace air filter and clean it or replace it – dirty or clogged filters can force furnaces to work harder, costing you more. • Clean your warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators. Make sure carpeting, furniture and drapes aren’t obstructing the heat. Insulation • Leaky doors and windows can be a costly problem.

Save money by caulking and weather-stripping those drafty areas. • Check the insulation in various areas around your home to ensure they meet the levels suggested for your region. Thermostat • Set your thermostat at the lowest comfortable temperature possible when you’re home. •

If there is a time during the day when no one is home, set your thermostat at 65 degrees instead of the usual 72. Maintaining 65 degrees for eight hours a day may cut your heating bill by as much as 10 percent.

Fall 2012, Tennessee Connections  

Welcome to the digital edition of Tennessee Connections is an official publication of the Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association and...