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The ShopperNews is growing, and we want you to grow with us! We are now delivered to homes in Old North, south Knox, east Knoxville and all of south and east Knox County. The communities have a lot in common. They are vibrant, historic areas filled with fascinating people and interesting stories – and too often those stories go unreported. Not anymore.

We’re a community newspaper, and we believe in celebrating community. You may be familiar with other editions of the ShopperNews and our mission to share the heartbeat of each community. This one is all yours. At the Shopper-News, we try not to preach. We simply find those who know what’s best for their

VOL. 1 NO. 1

www.ShopperNewsNow.com |

IN THIS ISSUE

Restore Mary Vestal Park!

Betsy Pickle visits the Vestal Community Organization and the Sierra Club picnic in Holston Park. Did someone say free food?

See Betsy’s report on page 3

NEIGHBORHOOD BUZZ

East Towne Merchants to meet

East Towne Area Merchants will meet 8-9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at the Cracker Barrel on Millertown Pike. Steve Borden, TDOT regional director, and Dave Brace, who heads the Knoxville Public Service Department, will attend to discuss clearing brush, business visibility, signs and a wish list. Nick Della Volpe, who represents the area on City Council, says the 120 merchants located at the East Towne exit of I-640 account for $2.6 million in local property taxes, generate more than $10 million in state sales tax, and provide some 2,000 jobs. He’s asking for brush clearing to increase visibility and two-way mall roads.

Candidates to spar

Alice Bell/Springhill Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at New Harvest Park, Washington Pike just east of Target. Guests will be candidates for City Council 4th District Nick Della Volpe and Rick Staples. Ronnie Phillips will show the overall plan for his property on Washington Pike.

P.O. Box 18295, Knoxville 37928 (865) 922-4136 NEWS news@ShopperNewsNow.com Sandra Clark | Betsy Pickle ADVERTISING SALES ads@ShopperNewsNow.com Shannon Carey Jim Brannon | Tony Cranmore Brandi Davis | Patty Fecco

family, their block, their county. We find them and tell their stories. We care about what goes on in schools and neighborhoods, about the debates in meeting rooms and restaurant booths. We think you do, too, and we hope this is “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” While dozens of hardworkers make the paper and bring it to your home, the four folks you’re most likely to see are:

Sandra Clark: Publisher of Halls Shopper since 1971, she says there are two rules of good newspapering: Show up and spell the names right. So if you want us to show up at your place, just give a call. Betsy Pickle: A journalist with 30-plus years of experience, Betsy grew up in east Knoxville and has lived in south Knoxville for 21 years. A member of First Baptist Church and a mentor at an elementary school, she will cover the east and south communities and south area schools. Ruth White: 11-year veteran of Shopper-News, specializes in

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school coverage and photography. Ruth raised three great kids – Joe, David and Caroline – and when they left home she learned to bake cookies. Gourmet cookies. Get to know Ruth White as she covers area schools. Nancy Whittaker: She will cover business news and maybe sell an ad. She just joined us after a stint in property management with Holrob. There are many more featured columnists and writers. You’ll enjoy their work as you renew acquaintance with old friends such as sports guy Marvin West and meet new ones like Jake Mabe. Contact us at news@Shopper NewsNow.com or 865-342-6610.

August 19, 2013

Rogero makes neighborhood connection By Betsy Pickle When Mayor Madeline Rogero brought her “Neighborhood Connections” series to her home turf, south Knoxville, last Tuesday, she felt the love. But she also felt the frustration many south Knoxvillians have over the roadblocks to building a thriving community. Rogero reeled off a checklist of projects completed or in the works in SoKno that the city has funded or supported, and many of the price tags, i.e. investments, were impressive. But when she opened the floor to attendees, residents had nearly as many concerns as she had accomplishments. While the atmosphere at Woodlawn Christian Church was consistently cordial, such omnipresent clouds as the effects of the Henley Bridge closure and the fate of the James White Parkway extension cast shadows on the 90-minute meeting. Defunct businesses on Chapman Highway and blighted properties in the area were a sore spot. Sidewalks, road improvements

and problems at city parks got their share of discussion. Residents were happy to hear that KAT is looking to create a “super-stop” in south Knoxville so that riders don’t have to travel downtown on one SoKno line to transfer to another SoKno route. At least 11 neighborhood groups were represented, and Rogero mustered a huge amount of support from her staff, city officials and City Council – with about 30 attending – to show that the city is serious about doing right by south Knoxville. Rogero and Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis, the 1st District council member, urged people to keep things in perspective and insisted that south Knoxville is no longer “the redheaded stepchild” of the city. Attendees seemed happy with the tone and substance of the evening. “It was a great meeting,” said Janice Tocher of the south Woodlawn Neighborhood Assocation. Mayor Madeline Rogero feels the love at her South Knox Neighborhood “These are exciting things.” Connections meeting last week. Photo by Betsy Pickle

City opens Loves Creek greenway By Sandra Clark The city of Knoxville has opened a half-mile crushed-limestone trail at Loves Creek which Mayor Madeline Rogero says will extend eventually to Knoxville Center mall and the New Harvest Park. “It started as a dream,” said 4th District City Council member Nick Della Volpe. He and his neighbors actually cut portions of the trail by hand. At the recent ribbon-cutting, Della Volpe related the history of Buffat Mill, built in 1870, and said the old mill site is still there. The trailhead is near the county-owned Spring Place Park where parking is available. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett help cut the ribbon, and council members Finbarr Saunders and Daniel Brown attended, as did County Commissioner Ed Shouse and former commission chair Thomas “Tank” Strickland.

within city limits. Inmates from the Knox County Work Release Center cleared brush while Knoxville’s Public Service Department executed all other construction. “The greenway will offer citizens another opportunity to stay healthy,” said Burchett. A highlight was an original composition, “Loves Creek,” performed by Julianne and Scott White. The catchy tune and lyrics inspired toe-tapping and Rogero’s comment: “Y’all have set a new bar for ribbon-cuttings.” The Whites are members of the Knoxville Songwriters Association. The new greenway is part of a 10-year city/county Greenways Mayor Madeline Rogero and Recreation Director Joe Walsh are flanked by City Council members Finbarr Saunders (left) and Nick Della Volpe (right) Master Plan, monitored by Knoxville Parks and Recreation Direcfollowing the ribbon-cutting for the Loves Creek Greenway. Photo by S. Clark tor Joe Walsh and Knox County Parks and Recreation Director “This was a tag-team project crews built the trail for an es- Doug Bataille. Info: 311 or www.cityofknoxwith multiple city and county timated $35,000 on the Knox departments,” said Rogero. City County property that resides ville.org/greenways/.

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2 • AUGUST 19, 2013 •

Shopper news

health & lifestyles

Scholarship program opens doors to renowned rehab

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programs. In their ďŹ nal report, CARF cited the scholarship program as an “exemplary conformance to the standards. ‌ This level of funding support is unique to the ďŹ eld and is outstanding.â€? For Combs, it goes beyond words what the generosity and her experience in 2011 means. “There is no way I could have afforded rehabilitation if not for the scholarship program,â€? Combs said. “They taught me how to take care of myself again.â€? The treatment at PNRC continues to impact her everyday life. In April of this year, Combs had another procedure as the brain tumor returned. As her ďŹ ght rages on, she leans on the techniques taught to her by the PNRC staff.

“It probably made the difference between me walking or not walking at all. I’m not sure where I would have ended up without the Pat Neal experience.� –Janice Combs

Janice Combs just before the 2011 Knoxville Covenant Health Marathon 5K

Holston HIlls Country Club. This year’s tournament will take place on Aug. 26. It is the 29th year for the tournament which brings together hundreds of volunteers and businesses. Numerous amateur golfers and Tennessee golf professionals from across the country travel to play at one of the state’s top courses. Through the Golf Classic and other events, nearly $4.5 million dollars has been raised for PNRC. In 2011, PNRC was surveyed and re-accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in 15 separate rehabilitation

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“I ďŹ nd myself using the different techniques I was taught two years ago even now. It’s tough to go through this again, but it’s better than not being around at all.â€? Unfortunately, not all patients in need are able to participate in the services provided by the Patricia Neal Center. SpeciďŹ c guidelines are in place to be considered for the scholarship program.

Introducing adaptive sports to those with disabilities The Patricia Neal Innovative Recreation Cooperative (IRC), founded in 1994, is a nationally-recognized education and awareness program that helps people with disabilities enjoy life. “We are celebrating our 20th season to help develop life skills through sports and recreational activities, both for their therapeutic beneďŹ t and just for fun,â€? according to IRC coordinator Al Kaye. “We use recreation as a way to teach life skills,â€? explains Kaye, who sees about 600 individuals with physical disabilities each year in the East Tennessee Region. Aided by about 150 volunteers throughout the community – those with and without disabilities – the IRC offers free advice and lessons on adaptive sports equipment to anyone who needs it. The program is funded through the Fort Sanders Foundation with contributions from events like Eskimo Escapades, corporate grants and private donations. “We are a ‘cooperative’ in that we work with many other community groups to pull the clinics together,â€? says Kaye. IRC’s core sports include water and snow skiing, marksmanship, Alpine Tower climbing, scuba diving, cycling, paddling and golf, among others. “Every sport has a different safety level, so that’s one of the things we have to evaluate,â€? says Kaye. “Somebody who has brittle bones probably shouldn’t water ski, or someone who’s had pulmonary issues might not be able to scuba because of safety concerns.â€? We work with many types of physical disabilities to include spinal and brain injured, stroke, amputees and neurologically impaired. The youngest has been snow skiers at age 4 through adults in their 70s.

Al Kaye, IRC Coordinator

Even if he can’t provide an experience for a particular sport thru the IRC, Kaye refers people to specialists around the area as a resource. “If someone says I want to learn to y, that’s usually not something we can teach them, but we do refer them to someone who can,â€? he says. The IRC frequently works with people to adapt sports they might never have tried otherwise. “We have folks who’ve never water skied in their lives, and they come out and say, ‘I can do that, it is incredible.’ It’s a win-win situation,â€? Kaye says. “We’ve been able to help individuals get back into life and deal with their abilities. The key is when they give back to help others along the same path. They’re advocates for individuals with disabilities, they’re advocates for prevention and they’re good citizens.â€? For information about IRC events or donating to the IRC, log on to www.patneal.org or call 865-541-1353.

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When Janice Combs arrived at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center (PNRC) in 2011, she was without insurance and not able to use her left leg a result of surgery to remove a brain tumor. But with the help of the PNRC patient scholarship program, Combs was provided an opportunity to spend two weeks participating in inpatient rehab, and she continued outpatient therapy in the following months. “It probably made the difference between me walking or not walking at all,â€? Combs said from her home in Oak Ridge. “I’m not sure where I would have ended up without the Pat Neal experience.â€? When it was all said and done, she regained the use of her leg and was back to living the active lifestyle she was accustomed to. That included running the 5K at the 2011 Knoxville Covenant Health Marathon beside her case manager from PNRC. “The ďŹ rst day I arrived at PNRC, I had been conďŹ ned to a hospital bed for nine days,â€? she said. “I was given a wheelchair, which provided me some freedom and motivation to get moving.â€? “I was unable to transport myself from the bed to the chair, yet I eventually got to it. It was an unbelievable experience.â€? Combs was able to receive rehabilitation at PNRC because of the patient scholarship program. Started in 2006, the program is designed to help patients who do not have health insurance and are ineligible for state or federal assistance. The scholarship program is funded by contributions and through the Patricia Neal Golf Classic. This prestigious golf tournament is held annually at


Shopper news • AUGUST 19, 2013, 2011 • 3

Bringing back Mary Vestal Park things used to be, thanks to photos brought by architect and south Knoxvillian Gene Burr. Dilapidated structures, out-of-date playground equipment, a soggy ball field and an abruptly ending greenway now discourage neighbors from using the site. Betsy Discussion of the myriad Pickle problems helped focus the group, which decided that a representative should speak out at the South Knoxville Those attending the Neighborhood Connections meeting at the South Knox- meeting the next night (Eric ville Community Center, Johnson volunteered). Ways which is adjacent to the of obtaining non-governpark, got a look at how mental funding to make imThe top item on the Vestal Community Organization’s agenda last Monday was bringing Mary Vestal Park back to life.

provements also were suggested. Community liaison officer Adam Parnell of the Knoxville Police Department updated attendees on the resolution of previously reported problems and took notes on new issues. The VCO meets the second Monday of each month.

Sierra Club heads east for annual picnic

The Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club had its annual summer picnic at Holston River Park last Tuesday. About two dozen members and guests from throughout the area chowed down on grilled veggie hot dogs and burgers (and traditional burgers) plus delicious homemade sides, and enjoyed conversation that covered topics both serious and fun. Members agreed that walks to Knoxville and Knox County’s parks and greenways are one of the group’s most popular new ventures. Mac Post and Ron Shrieves lead the short treks and have set up a Meetup group open to all: http://www.meetup. com/Knoxville-GreenwayWalkers/. So far they have visited 20 parks and greenways. Actions this fall will include working to get TVA to stop using coal in its power plants, fighting mountaintop removal and trying to Joe Walsh, Knoxville’s director of Parks and Recreation, and convince the University of Gene Burr of the Vestal Community Organization at the Neigh- Tennessee not to frack in its research forest. borhood Connections meeting

Sharon West of south Knoxville, Barbara Allen of northwest Knoxville and the oldest woman to through-hike the Appalachian Trail, and Bernard Shuck of east Knoxville at the Sierra Club picnic Aug. 13 at Holston River Park Photos by Betsy Pickle

South Knox business owner Betty Husain at Mayor Rogero’s Neighborhood Connections meeting Aug. 13

The Harvey Broome Group meets every month on the second Tuesday, usually at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, 2931 Kingston Pike. Info: http:// tennessee.sierraclub.org/ Janice Tocher of South Woodlawn Neighborhood Association broome/Aspx/index.aspx. and Eric Johnson of Vestal Community Organization at the Neighborhood Connections event

Vibrant leaders promote south and east communities marked their 25th anniversary at the Dogwood Animal Hospital on Chapman Highway, a full-service facility that includes boarding and grooming as well as medical attention.

By Sandra Clark What a wonderful opportunity it is to launch a brand new newspaper. Each week I’ll be talking with people who have something to say. Hopefully, I can hear them and you’ll want to read their ideas. Come on along!

Ruthie is familiar with the Shopper-News and is excited to see the paper expand. “This is a very wonderful, very stable community,” she said of the neighborhoods

of Colonial Village and Lake Forest. The hospital is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 7 to noon on Saturdays. The McLeods also refer to UT and specialists.

Catering Available! Birthdays, Graduations, Special Events Drs. Harry and Ruthie McLeod are celebrating 25 years at Dogwood Animal Hospital on Chapman Highway.

The world’s prettiest cell phone tower got its flag last week. Ronnie Collins and members of the Alice Bell/ Spring Hill Neighborhood Association encouraged U.S. Cellular to make its tower near the entrance to Knoxville Center Mall a flag pole. Collins says, “It is very visible from the interstate and the area surrounding it. It is lighted at night, as federal law requires. It is a very positive improvement for the community.”

Nick Della Volpe says if government can’t make it easier for businesses to prosper, well, “that’s how you become Detroit.” The enVolpe ergetic firstterm City Council member has organized a group of merchants to lobby hard for improvements in the area around Knoxville Center mall, saying visitors on I-640 must think they’re traveling through “the valley of the Green Giant” rather than a vibrant business corridor. All they can see from the highway is trees. “Knoxville Center is the 7th largest taxpayer in Knox County,” he said. “We’ve got to help it succeed.” Dewey Roberts says he’ll be at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center for as long as he’s needed. Roberts, a board member at Beck, Roberts came out of retirement to serve as interim executive director when Avon Rollins became ill. Roberts was mentored by the late Sarah Moore Greene and followed her as president of the local NAACP, an office he held for 20 years. Behind his calm demeanor is the soul of a heck-raiser. He filed a complaint with the U.S. Office

of Civil Rights following the merger of the city and county school systems, arguing that we continued to operate “a dual system.” Roberts is pleased with efforts of Superintendent Jim McIntyre to include African-Americans throughout the system, top to bottom and east to west. He promised to keep us posted on activities at Beck. Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis says the mer c h a nt s in south K nox v ille will survive because “they are f i g h t e r s .” The closure of the HenPavlis ley Bridge reduced traffic from 38,000 cars per day to 9,000 on Chapman Highway to Moody Avenue. But thanks to skillful lobbying by Pavlis and others, the city, county and state have kicked in $70,000 for promotions. The merchants have hired Ackermann PR to design a campaign to “brand” the area. Stay tuned on this one. Pavlis is absolutely excited about prospects for the Chapman Highway corridor and development of recreational opportunities in the Urban Wilderness. After all, when has this town ever had both a mayor and vice mayor from SoKno? Drs. Ruthie and Harry McLeod met in veterinarian school and became partners in life and business. The couple have just

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government Questions on south Knox road project Something is not quite right in what is going on with the possible extension of the James White Parkway from its current termination at Moody Avenue to Gov. John Sevier Highway. Transparency is at risk. The good news is that Gov. Bill Haslam has said he will make the final decision, which means a more level playing field.

Victor Ashe

Months ago, a public hearing was held at which both Mayors Madeline Rogero and Tim Burchett along with Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis voiced their opposition to the extension of the parkway due to the new urban wilderness, hiking trails and recreational opportunities that have been created in south Knoxville. Support for improving Chapman Highway was also voiced. There was strong support for this option and opposition to the build option. TDOT Commissioner John Schroer indicated he would honor local government feelings even if he personally disagreed. That has now changed. On July 1, Schroer came to Knoxville and met with Burchett and his chief of staff Dean Rice, along with state Sens. Becky Massey, Stacey Campfield, Frank Niceley and Doug Overbey and state Rep. Harry Brooks. Schroer was accompanied by five TDOT staffers. On background this writer was told that Schroer said he no longer felt obligated to honor local opposition as it was a regional project and not a local project, despite it being built almost entirely in Knox County. The legislators basically listened to the proposal and were noncommittal. This writer was also told TDOT clearly indicated that the extension will go forward, with a news conference expected in the near future that will announce three items:

■ Henley Bridge reconstruction will be completed earlier than the current delay states. ■ Chapman Highway improvements will be made, and ■ The extension of the parkway will occur. Rogero was in Washington on July 10, so Schroer returned to Knoxville on July 17 for a similar meeting with Rogero without legislators or council members present. Deputy Mayor Bill Lyons was in the meeting with her. While Burchett appears to have changed his opposition to the extension, he also says the extension is not likely to occur and feels other road projects in Knox County have a higher priority such as Oak Ridge Highway being improved from Schaad Road out to its intersection with Pellissippi Parkway. Neither of these significant meetings was announced to the public or sun-shined although state law may not have required it. However, all of this occurred more than five weeks ago and it happened under the radar screen. Rogero says she still opposes the extension but has not indicated what steps she will take if the TDOT commissioner insists on ignoring the majority views of the public hearing his department held. She and Lyons had lunch on Aug. 7 with Haslam, who will have the ultimate voice on this matter. The governor told WBIR-TV he will weigh in on this hometown issue. To harm two south Knoxville parks in a process that was not a process but a series of unannounced meetings calls into question the public hearing held months ago. What would the city response to this be? It would be hard to argue that this project is the No. 1 road project in Knox County given the issues on Oak Ridge Highway. The cost of the James White extension far exceeds normal road projects at $105 million for 5 miles of asphalt. Finally, what happened in a few months to make this a regional project? And who stands to benefit from the extension?

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4 • AUGUST 19, 2013 • Shopper news

Governor gets hometown welcome Bill Haslam grew up in Knoxville, but you would have thought it was down in Tater Valley from the reception he received last week in Maynardville.

Sandra Clark

“This small county has a loud voice. This is Governor Haslam country,” someone yelled. “It’s great to see a local business that saw a need and met it,” Haslam said, after touring the Cooper Container Corporation. “Being in Nashville can make you see things a certain way, while trips to com-

ficials, Republican leaders and representatives of the business community, Haslam fielded comments and questions. “What do you want to tell the governor?” he asked. Roads were a consistent theme. Union Countians need to get farm products and extracted minerals to market. The county needs retail development to increase the tax base, which has been eroded by residents shopping in Knox Gov. Bill Haslam got a rousing welcome to Union County when County or Kentucky. “Government does not he toured Cooper Container Corporation. Photo by S. Clark create jobs,” said Haslam. “Jobs are created when peomunities large and small Container) and how we can ple like (the Coopers) put help me understand what’s leverage that.” capital at risk.” Cooper Conhappening in the state. Haslam walked through tainer employs 78 full and “Unemployment is way the plant with owner/ part-time workers. “We’ve too high,” Haslam said. “I founder A.C. Cooper and his stayed steady the last few need to understand what is son, Donnie Cooper. years,” Donnie Cooper said. working (such as at Cooper Surrounded by local of- “We’ve been fortunate.”

New West Hills leader emerges Who is Rocky Swingle? The short answer is he’s a West Hills resident and the leader of the opposition to the proposed Tennova hospital on Middlebrook Pike.

Betty Bean Since he stepped in, this opposition has grown from a few isolated voices to a fullfledged movement, complete with nearly 300 yard signs, paper and online petitions and a Facebook page. The guy’s good. The longer answer is he’s a native Knoxvillian whose family moved to West Hills from south Knoxville just in time for him to enroll in the 7th grade at West Hills Elementary School. He is a 1965 Bearden High School graduate who received degrees from the University of Tennessee in 1969 and 1973, whereupon he and his wife, Jenny, decided to venture

outside the hometown and landed in Los Angeles, where he went to work for Amtrak. He was transferred to the Philadelphia area, and the Swingles stayed in the Northeast for nearly three decades. Rocky was an Amtrak corporate sales representative whose major responsibility was talking business travel managers of major companies into using trains instead of planes. “I spent the last seven years working in New York, which I loved, but the commute was a killer,” he said. “When our daughter, Sarah, got married and moved to San Diego, we just decided to come back here, where all my family is.” So Rocky retired and the Swingles bought a house on Sheffield Drive, near his mother. They closed last Oct. 31. A couple of months later, he started reading stories about Tennova’s plans. He says it didn’t sink in until May, when the West Hills Community Association met and invited Tennova

representatives to come and speak. Swingle attended, and something clicked. “I started thinking, ‘This is just not a good idea.’ I met some people who agreed, and we’re off and runRocky Swingle ning.” Sw ingle says he tries to be organized, focused and persistent. He’s not a total rookie, though, and has been able to translate a similar experience he had when he was living in New Jersey and developers wanted to cut down a 50-acre forest behind his home to build an apartment complex. “At the time, it was one of 25 properties listed for preservation, and I said, ‘This is nuts.’ I’d never done anything like this, so I found

out what I could do, put out a flyer, and people s t a r t e d coming forward, saying ‘You’re right.’ Eventually we formed a nonprofit group to try and preserve land and make sure when there’s development done, it’s done the right way. New Jersey rules are different, but really the situation is very similar.” Additional uncertainty has been added by Health Management Associates’ ownership of Tennova. After reports of HMA being at loggerheads with the hedge fund that is its largest shareholder, Swingle is suggesting that City Council postpone the Middlebrook rezoning until Tennova’s status is made clear.

‘Can you walk in my shoes?’ Kenneth Pinkney had seen it all. Twenty-two years in the Marines. Tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

to students at an elementary school. He became a volunteer, then a teacher’s assistant. Now, he’s spent 14 years as an administrator and is currently principal of Geeter Middle School in Memphis. “Children are my passion,” he said. “When I was Jake a Marine, I protected these Mabe United States with all of my heart. I never thought I’d be in a situation where kids MY TWO CENTS would be in harm’s way.” As principal, he’s talked When he retired from to students who face gunactive duty, he thought he’d fire regularly on the walk become a security guard. to school and back. He reThen he was asked to speak arranged his schedule to

Kenneth “Sarge” Pinkney, principal of Geeter Middle School in Memphis, speaks to Halls Middle School faculty last week. Photos by Jake Mabe

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arrive at school at 6 a.m. because one parent had to drop her daughter off that early before going to work. He found out the girl was hiding in the bushes until somebody arrived. “You gotta go that extra mile because (kids ask) ‘can you walk in my shoes?’ “I drove one of my kids home one night and the complex had Memphis Police Department officers in front. They looked like a SWAT team. I said, ‘Why are they here?’ My student said, ‘Those are our security officers for the night.’ It was almost like I was back in Afghanistan somewhere.” Pinkney says poverty is rampant in Memphis but also affects a sizable population of all students. “Two things help escape poverty – education and relationships. Students respond to those they respect.” He told of an A student who started missing school – 54 days. He went to the kid’s house to discover he was caring for his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s. A teacher was furious at a student who was sleeping in class. Pinkney said, “Have you asked her what’s wrong?” Pinkney did – and found the 8th grader had two children and had taken one to a clinic the previous night. The teacher later told Pinkney, “I didn’t know.” “That’s because you didn’t ask,” he said. “You just assumed she was being defiant. “Students really want to know that you care about them. “You’re in a life-changing business. You’re in a ministry that not everyone can do.”


Shopper news • AUGUST 19, 2013, 2011 • 5

Bridge dilemma a comedy of errors? Not exactly Note: TDOT’s problems with the Henley Bridge are mirrored in Union County where the state has been trying for years now to finish the bridge over Norris Lake on Hwy. 33. Veteran reporter Marvin West asks, “What went wrong?”

By Marvin West We could call the Highway 33 bridge dilemma “a comedy of errors” but William Shakespeare wouldn’t like that. His early play was a farce loaded with slapstick. The bridge saga is sad. Years and years and years ago, Tennessee Department of Transportation engineers determined the ancient bridge over Norris Lake had fallen into disrepair, was weak in places and needed to be replaced. It was built in 1936. Periodic inspections produced the occasional scare story, followed by repairs. Paint covered rust and made everybody feel better. The bridge did not collapse, even when 18-wheelers squeezed past each other, but the locals who regularly drove that route did grow restless. Some with children riding school buses to and from Maynardville mentioned frequent use of nerve medicine until the kids were again safe at home. A bartender at Bubba’s Brews Sports Pub and Grill said replacing the bridge was at least 10 years overdue. As is often the case, money was a problem. There were times when funds were supposedly available in the state budget but more pressing needs or areas with greater political clout emerged. Good old Veterans Memorial Bridge remained much as it was.

Approval The big breakthrough came in 2009. The price of steel dropped by half and the feds came up with an economic stimulus package. Then-state Sen. Mike Faulk announced that TDOT had approved replacement. “This was a priority of mine in the State Senate from day one,” he said. ”The current bridge is in terrible shape and is very dangerous due to the angle of the approaches.” Chad Faulkner, thenstate representative for the region, said amen. “Senator Faulk and I have been in constant contact with Department of Transportation in support of this bridge project. We are extremely pleased that it has been approved. This replacement is critical to the safety of local citizens who cross the bridge, especially in the winter months when there is snow and ice.”

Need for replacement was reinforced in 2010 with these findings: Superstructure condition rating: Serious. Substructure condition: Poor. Appraisal: Structurally deficient. Strict load limits were imposed. Heavy haulers faced a 70-mile detour. Mountain States Contractors, somehow aligned with Britton Bridge, won the contract with a bid of $22.4 million. The new bridge was to be finished by the summer of 2012. That didn’t happen.

Delay Mountain States workers built about one third of the project but discovered precarious conditions in the bedrock in deep water. They needed to blast out places to pour concrete bases to support new pillars but the hot spots were 15 feet from the old pillars, and with unstable rock, that was much too close for comfort. Time out. For a while, there was cause for disagreement. State engineers were certain their plans were at least perfect. Builders trying to do arthroscopic construction 100 feet deep thought the risk was greater than the reward. The new bridge was suddenly dead in the water. This being Union County, you should have heard the commentary. They put it in the wrong place. The company went bankrupt. The old bridge may fall at any given moment. Don’t even fish under it. Best rumor was TDOT would put in a ferry.

Whose fault? How could this happen, you ask? Did anybody check the bottom of the lake to preview potential problems? A contractors’ spokesperson said, “We used state engineering information and specifications to prepare our bid.” Mark Nagi of TDOT said, “TDOT performed the regular soils/geo-tech investigations into the strata that make up the streambed under Norris Lake immediately adjacent to the existing bridge.” Was human error involved in this turn of events? TDOT answer from Nagi: “Not necessarily.” Was there a better way to assess the stability of bedrock in advance of this project? TDOT answer: “TDOT used new foundation data as well as existing TVA data.” With the proximity to the old bridge, should the weakness have been anticipated? TDOT answer: “It is difficult to say that this was an unknown issue as the proximity of the new piers

Piers for the new bridge alongside the old one

Photo by Cindy Taylor

Highway 33 bridge with abandoned piers (at top) and, at right, the new bridge in 1936, from the Tennessee State Archives. and footings to the old piers was always known. However, after the contractor did some preliminary work and raised concerns about the stability of the existing bridge during blasting, TDOT and the contractor agreed that drilled shaft foundations would eliminate any risks that were present.” Next question: Who was the geological engineer? TDOT answer: “The department has had several geological and structural engineers during the process …”

tected during short segments of the confusion. The Tennessee Highway Patrol, working five-hour shifts on overtime, spot check trucks for loads exceeding mandated limits. TDOT is paying for the officers and gas to keep car air conditioners or heaters running. “We have been working this assignment for almost a

year,” said THP spokesperson Dalya J. Qualls. This is mostly ceremonial. There are six overtime shifts. The old bridge is unguarded 19 hours a day and on its own all of the seventh day. The state eventually came up with different bridge plans and requirements. Key change is core drilling instead of blasting. Kay and

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Regroup Engineers went back to the drawing board. Meanwhile, Mountain States equipment was parked. This did not produce good return on investment. Nothing visible happened at the Highway 33 bridge for more than a year. Sometime during that lull, the state and the contractor parted ways. The contract was cancelled. The state paid Mountain States what it was owed. Mountain States set aside purchased material for the next builder. Nobody sued anybody. Travelers have been pro-

Kay Contracting of London, Ky., won the revised project in February with a bid of $18,310,000. It finally went to work a few days ago. It may or may not finish the bridge by the middle of next year. After the eventual ribbon-cutting and political speeches, the next big event will be the very exciting removal of the old bridge. Most of what Mountain States accomplished, altered approaches and six pillars, will be used by Kay and Kay. Years of delays are gone forever. TDOT says it doesn’t know yet how much money was lost. It takes a long time to count to $7 million. Or maybe $10 million.

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kids

6 • AUGUST 19, 2013 • Shopper news

All the buzz at Carter Elementary The final days of summer were busy in Knox County as teachers set up their rooms, and attended training and ribbons were cut on two new schools – Northshore Elementary and Carter Elementary. The parking lot at Carter Elementary was packed with students, teachers, community members and everyone else who is thrilled to get a new school for the children in the Carter area. Principal Shay Siler welcomed the crowd to the official opening of the school and to the bright and colorful learning experience ahead. Superintendent Jim McIntyre expressed his excitement as to what the new building will enable to happen in the classroom. “Our focus is on providing high quality instruction in the classrooms, and the teachers at Carter are committed to the children,” he said. McIntyre called Mayor Tim Burchett “a great friend to education” and said that although they may sometimes disagree on the means they always agree on the goal. The road to the new school was bumpy but worth the trip. “We kept the faith and we were successful,” said school board

Ruth White Carter Elementary principal Shay Siler welcomes everyone to official opening of the new school. Photos by Ruth White member Mike McMillan. “The community will enjoy this facility for decades to come.” McMillan thanked Burchett for taking up the cause and making the new school become a reality. The mayor mentioned one child by name – Emily Garrison – who will enter kindergarten this year. Commissioner Dave Wright shared with the mayor that Garrison’s grandmother saw the article about Carter Elementary in the ShopperNews. The grandmother recognized Wright’s wife, Pat, from a photo at the event and chatted with her when she saw her in Fountain City. Emily’s grandmother shared with Pat Wright how every day they drove by the school building and Emily would say, “That’s my Big Girl school.” Emily’s excitement about starting school in a new building is just part of the magic that will happen each day in the classroom.

Jack and Jake Vineyard eagerly wait for the moment they can explore their new school building.

Lilah Grace Kitts meets her new teacher, Angela Allen, at the official opening. Allen handed out back-to-school goodie bags to all of her students to welcome them to 3rd grade.

County Commissioner Dave Wright and Emily Garrison listen to speeches.

Celebrating back to school

P.J. and Tyree West examine an animal skull at the zoo booth.

Ashanti Kyle visited the face painting booth and emerged looking like a butterfly.

that had arisen over the past several years. Berry’s own high-school experience was one of wining on getting the students ogy Committee to help him ning, albeit more in athletto believe in themselves. with some of the decisions ics than in academics. The Earning a spot as one of 11 the school is making. Loudon County native was Knox County schools to par“They’re really, really an All State basketball playticipate in the 1:1 Technol- smart when it comes to this er; his sister and father were ogy Challenge was a major stuff,” he said. The 30 or so both All Americans. part of that. students on the committee After a year at Hiwassee “Just to see the kids and College, where he played are “people that I feel can the pride they had was basketball, he went to UT have a lasting impact on pretty cool,” and studsaid Berry. ied busi“They didn’t ness, but he know what “hated the we won; they c l a s s e s .” just knew we His advisor, had won. the late Bill “I sat back Butefish, and really asked him learned a litwhat he did tle bit about like – “sciour school ence, chemthat day, istry and bithat they felt ology.” like they’d “We just been pushed Touring South-Doyle High School on the first day of school are Emily Barton, assistant comstarted talkdown for so missioner, state Department of Education; Jim McIntyre, superintendent, Knox County Schools; ing about long, and to Tim Berry, principal, South-Doyle; and school board member Pam Trainor. Photo by Betsy Pickle things that win someyou could do thing that this change that we’re going some time,” said Berry. “But with that,” said Berry. “He maybe some other promithrough and even assist our we have a lot of coaching said, ‘I think you’d make a nent schools hadn’t gotten” teachers with some of the sessions that we’re doing great teacher.’ So I got into was a thrill. with teachers on 30-Minute the program. I did some Each one of South- transition. “For once, we’ve got stu- Thursdays, professional-de- field experiences, and I fell Doyle’s approximately 1,200 velopment sessions before in love with it.” students, and all the teach- dents teaching teachers.” and after school.” He was a little more hesiBerry was enthusiastic ers, will receive a MacBook Berry is a fan of his stu- tant about going after his Pro – probably in mid- to about his first-day meetings dents and faculty. Last advanced degrees in educalate September. Berry is with each class. year the school adopted the tion and becoming an adconfident that the kids “We know through our theme “Reveal Your Great- ministrator. will adapt easily. He’s even Twitter all summer long ness” – or #ryg – to combat “I liked the idea of makformed a Student Technol- that students are excited the second-banana mindset ing decisions beyond the

four walls of the classroom and felt like I could make a difference where I was at the time,” he said. “But I had to be convinced that you could make a difference because I felt like the closer you were to kids, the more positive impact you could have.” After spending 21 years as a teacher and administrator before running for and losing out on the school superintendent’s position in Loudon County, Berry decided it was time to look farther afield. “I had been keeping track of Dr. Jim McIntyre and the progress he was making in Knox County, and I was looking to work for someone who was a visionary and had great leadership,” he said. Having McIntyre visit on the first day was “awesome,” he said. “It shows that he has trust in us to lead this initiative. He’s called us trailblazers before, and it only solidifies that when we see him enter the building on the first day.” Berry also believes solidly that he’s where he’s meant to be. “When I decided to leave Loudon County, I prayed that God would put me where I was needed,” said Berry “And from day one, I knew that he wanted me at South-Doyle.”

Brysen Lay and his sister Brooke enjoy looking at animal skulls, Baylee Barto and Mackenzie skins and other items at the Knoxville Zoo booth. Redcay get a hug from United Healthcare’s Health E. Hound.

Buying into their greatness By Betsy Pickle Students at South-Doyle High took the first day of school in stride. New teachers – check. New state standards – check. A visit from Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre – check. Principal Tim Berry met with each class to give a rousing pep talk. McIntyre toured the school with an entourage. The students were unfazed. “What you see is what you get with our kids,” said vice principal Sherry Smith. “They are buying into their greatness.” When Berry took over as principal of South-Doyle two years ago, he’d heard the test scores weren’t great and that apathy and discipline were issues. But once the students arrived and he started getting to know them, Berry realized the bad publicity was undeserved. “A lot of the things that I’d heard about the school just weren’t true,” he said in an earlier interview. “I had a lot of kids who just wanted somebody to believe in them.” Berry and his leadership team made that a priority, and then they began work-

By Ruth White Mayor Tim Burchett hosted his Back to School Bash at the Expo Center last week and more than 1,100 backpacks were handed out within 23 minutes. United Healthcare was a major contributor to the event and helped get out much-needed school supplies to Knox County students. Vendors handed out cotton candy, chips and salsa from Salsaritas; Papa Murphy’s pizza straight from the oven; and refreshing treats from Wendy’s. Activities included face painting, free books, bounce house, martial arts and dance demonstrations and games.

about the technology,” he said. “They know change is coming. There’s a buzz out there right now that something special is happening, and we saw it today.” As for the teachers, they’re starting to feel more comfortable with the laptops. “We’re still going to do ongoing professional development; it’s going to take


business

Shopper news • AUGUST 19, 2013, 2011 • 7

Connecting communities, changing lives By Ruth White For many families, owning a home can be a goal that seems to be out of reach. Through Neig hborhood Housing and The K nox v ille Chris Martin Leadership Foundation, the possibility of home ownership isn’t impossible. To date, two homes have been built in the River Meadow subdivision and the development will result in 10 three bedroom, two bath single family homes. The homes will be available for purchase by low income families that qualify through the Knoxville

Leadership Foundation’s Homebuyer Readiness Program. The Foundation is weaving the fabric of a strong community and has built 55 homes in Knoxville to date. The Homebuyer Readiness Program prepares individuals to purchase a home by creating a personalized plan. Participants in the program learn to manage their finances in order to attain homeownership. “This project serves as a substantial investment for NHI and its funding partners and serves as a strong foundation for financial stability of low income families,” said NHI president Chris Martin. Steve Pearson, new home construction director with NeighInfo: 524-2774 or www. borhood Housing, shows guests the kitchen area of the new klf.org/. home. Photo by Ruth White

Ferguson completes basic training Army Pfc. Michael S. Ferguson has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises. Ferguson is the son of Wesley Ferguson and the grandson of Jack Stanton. He is a 2012 graduate of South-Doyle High School.

NEWS FROM WELLSPRING SENIOR LIVING

Wellspring only local senior living center offering unique memory care therapy Powell location opens today for new residents When it opened its doors in December 2012, Wellspring Senior Living at Raintree was Knox County’s first newly constructed assisted living facility in more than a decade -- but Wellspring principal Steve Hall didn’t stop there. A long-time local developer with a successful track record of multi-family and commercial real estate projects, Hall has three additional Wellspring Senior Living locations underway to meet the growing need for assisted living. In fact, today marks the move-in date for Wellspring Senior Living at Powell, located just off Emory Road on Thunder Lane. In late May, Wellspring Senior Living at Sevierville broke ground and is expected to open in early 2014, and an additional location is expected to open in Johnson City in summer 2014. Wellspring is the only assisted living and memory care provider in the region to offer the SimpleC Companion. This new technology for dementia care promotes memory, engagement, and better communication for seniors. SimpleC’s academic partners’ research shows that SimpleC users benefit from memory stimulants such as their own family photographs and audio recordings of personalized messages from family, friends, or caregivers, which helps to maintain healthy daily routines. This non-medication, computer-based therapy has been proven to enhance nutrition, increase participation in activities, and improve sleep quality among senior adults. All of the Wellspring locations are set in bucolic, serene surroundings landscaped with native blooming plants such as dogwoods and hydrangea. Appointed with lush architectural details throughout, Wellspring’s locations offer a variety of floor plans, all with complimentary utilities. Wellspring also believes that memo-

Wellspring is a pet-friendly community. Pictured here is the walking trail at Wellspring at Raintree in West Knoxville.

All Wellspring locations offer a variety of floor plans. Pictured here is a room at the newly opened Wellspring at Powell. Visit www.wellspringseniorliving.com to view the options for Raintree and Powell (Sevierville and Johnson City coming soon).

Left, Wellspring’s new construction and beautiful interiors set it apart from other area assisted living facilities.

An affordable senior care provider setting an exceptional industry benchmark for senior living

Open Now: rable dining with home-style cooking helps make meals a convivial social event and employs only culinary-trained chefs with retail restaurant experience rather than cooks from institutional backgrounds. Most unique is Wellspring’s all-inclusive monthly rate structure, which provides an affordable option that cuts out the instability that level- and point-based pricing methods can create. Wellspring’s mission is to honor God through service

to seniors, and that philosophy does not align with additional charges for services. Amenities offered to all Wellspring residents include dedicated and trained caregivers 24 hours a day, a licensed nursing staff, an emergency response system, medication management services, a wellness program, pharmacy services, beautician and barber services, housekeeping/linen/laundry services, and a full time maintenance and safety staff.

Raintree 555 Rain Forest Road Powell 7545 Thunder Lane

Accepting Reservations: Sevierville 1102 Medical Park Court Johnson City State of Franklin Road

(865) 362-5398 www.wellspringseniorliving.com

ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS in our upcoming Service Guide. Ads start at $10.00 per week!

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