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Opportunity for whom? By Lauren Hopson Tennessee legislators have recently rebranded private school vouchers as “opportunity scholarships.” Vouchers have undergone this transformation Hopson in the hope that unsuspecting taxpayers will forget what they are, but also because they provide real opportunities for poor, minority students to escape underperforming schools in their neighborhood, right? How is this accomplished? A poor minority student in a community far from here, let’s say Memphis, has suffered through the effects of fetal drug addiction. His mother, now in recovery, hopes to improve his chances of success by moving him out of his zoned school, which the state has branded as failing. His teachers work hard, but she fears the influence of his peers with similar issues may be too much to overcome. She accepts an opportunity scholarship with hopes of sending him to an excellent private school. However, the private school of her choice charges tuition substantially in excess of the scholarship. She can’t afford to make up the difference, and pay for books, uniforms and transportation. Consequently, she elects to send him to another private school that gladly accepts the scholarship as payment in full. The school doesn’t provide the special education services needed to deal with the fallout of her son’s fetal addiction, but it’s a private school, so it must be better, right? He struggles without those much-needed supports, and his mother is ultimately forced to return him to public school, where those services are guaranteed by law. Other parents, similarly disillusioned with the “opportunity,” follow suit. But wait, private schools backers were promised an increased enrollment by legislators. Maybe the scholarships need to be expanded to regular education students who can afford to make up the tuition difference. Never mind that this plan has had disastrous effects on public education in other states. Our private school backers need the “opportunity” to make more money, so let’s give our taxpayers the “opportunity” to fund those private schools.

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Daveon Creswell gets instruction from Lindsey Fehl Cohn as Muffin minds her manners.

By Joanna Henning “Muffin is a good dog because she gives me kisses,” says Mooreland Heights student Alexis Jones as she scratches the top of Muffin’s head. Muffin, a certified therapy dog, nuzzles against the kindergarten-

er while keeping a watchful eye on the classroom activities. Most people have experienced the therapeutic effects of a pet, and these days therapy dogs can be found in many health care facilities from hospitals to nursing homes. More recently, however,

therapy dogs have begun visiting schools thanks to the HABIT program (Human Animal Bond In Tennessee), run by volunteers and representatives from the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. South Knox resident and kindergarten teacher Lindsey Fehl

Cohn adopted Muffin from Young Williams Animal Center and together they have been part of the HABIT program for the past three years. During this time, Muffin has become a fixture in Cohn’s classroom. To page A-3

Candoro inspires with its past and potential By Betsy Pickle Most of the time, the Candoro Marble building sits inconspicuously at the corner of Maryville Pike and Candora Avenue, with passing drivers noting only the wide lawn, the side of the building and the tree-lined drive. Vestal neighbors and others help it come alive during May’s annual Vestival and the traditional December open house, and weddings and other celebrations take advantage of its charm and beauty throughout the year. Recently, the former showroom and offices for a longtime South Knoxville marble business have found a new purpose: inspiring students and art lovers to think beyond

the present day. University of Tennessee architecture professors Lisa Mullikin and Merita Soini turned the building into a sort of “lab” this semester. They brought sophomore-level students to examine the building and grounds and use them as the starting point for a class project. The assignment was to redesign the 94-year-old facility as an artist studio and residence. After an initial visit to learn about the building and the assignment, 27 students, working in teams, returned to study and measure the rooms and their features. They already had “clients” – primarily members of UT’s School of Art – for whom to

design the space. Hannah Allender of Knoxville and Ashley Wolff of Old Bridge, N.J., happened to have as their client Jered Sprecher, a South Knoxville resident whose work is currently featured in the show “Outside In” at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Sprecher, married with three kids, has had several positions as an artist-in-residence, so he was able to give Allender and Wolff specific ideas about what he would need – lots of open space for the family and northern light for his studio. The students said they loved the buildTo page A-3

Brooks sets cap to battle utilities By Sandra Clark State Rep. Harry Brooks has slipped on a three-cornered hat and gone to war over taxation without representation. Brooks wants consumers to be represented on utility boards, such as KUB.

Analysis “We want some level of representation for the folks served by the utility,” he said. His bill (HB 0269/SB 0684 by Ken Yager) was slated to be heard Feb. 21 in a subcommittee of the House Business and Utilities committee. In an interview last week, Brooks anticipated amendments and promised a more comprehensive explanation after that hearing. This bill will draw lobbyists like flies to honey. Utilities are iceberg

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Partisan elections State Rep. “Landslide Eddie” Smith has introduced a bill to require municipal elections in cities 100,000 or larger and all of the state’s school boards to be parti-

san. His bill (HB1039/SB0582 by Delores Gresham) allows political parties to nominate candidates. Leaving the cities to fend for themselves, let’s assume this bill is a reaction to Knox County’s last two school board elections. Fed up with S up e r i nt e nde nt Eddie Smith Jim McIntyre’s high-handed treatment of teachers (among other things), several educators mounted successful campaigns: Patti Bounds, Terry Hill and Amber Rountree in 2014; Tony Norman, Jennifer Owen and Susan Horn in 2016. Suddenly, Mike McMillan found allies while Lynne Fugate and Gloria Deathridge saw their former majority eroded. McIntyre resigned. Would partisan elections have

prevented McIntyre’s woes? Doubtful. McMillan and Norman had previously won election to county commission as Republicans; Bounds and Hill are long-time Republicans; Horn had solid support in Farragut where she was active in the campaign of Republican state Rep. Jason Zachary. Political allegiances are less clear for Rountree and Owen, but Owen represents District 2, a toss-up area previously represented on the commission by Democrat Amy Broyles. So the anti-McIntyre majority is firm – with or without partisan elections. If Smith’s bill passes, however, it could have the unintended consequence of getting education activists involved in partisan politics at the district level … and their next election just might be to run for the Legislature.


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governments – operating mostly out of sight with autonomy to set rates for vital services. Some charge more for the same service to customers who live outHarry Brooks side the municipal boundaries. Many have buy-out provisions and pensions for top execs to rival athletic departments; often they co-opt the very commissioners chosen to oversee them with benefits like health insurance and trips to tradeshows. Godspeed, Brooks and Yager.

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Feeling the burn?

Man’s first case of ‘heartburn’ was actually heart attack It was that last bite of pizza. Or so Michael Smith thought. He assumed his usual Friday night pizza delivery brought on his first-ever case of heartburn. “It was just a burning sensation right there,” he said, pointing to just below his sternum. But what the seemingly healthy 65-year-old Sevierville man didn’t know is that he wasn’t having heartburn – he was having a heart attack. “He’d never had indigestion before so he didn’t recognize it,” said Smith’s partner, Yvonne Osborn, who spent the next three hours trying to persuade him to go to the emergency department at LeConte Medical Center. “I asked him, ‘What does it feel like?’ He said, ‘I don’t know how to explain it, but it just hurts right here.’ And I said, ‘Mike, that sounds like your heart.’ ‘Oh no,’ he said, ‘I don’t think it would be that.’ That was at 7:30, then I looked over and he was sound asleep in the chair, and I thought, ‘Well, it can’t hurt that bad if he’s sound asleep.’ But we had worked all day; he was tired.” At 9:45 p.m. Smith awakened just in time to see the winner of “American Idol.” At 10, Osborn asked if the pain was still there. When he replied that it was, Osborn said she remained calm on the outside, but on the inside was “screaming, ‘Let’s go!’” Finally, she told him, “Maybe we should just go over there and see what they have to say. It’s not far from our house. If they say you have indigestion, hooray! But let’s just go see. It won’t hurt.’ He finally said, ‘OK, let’s go’ – but grudgingly.” They arrived at LeConte Medical Center’s emergency depart-

Michael Smith is back to “flipping” his home thanks to the cutting edge treatment he received at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.

ment about 10:30 p.m., walked to the counter and told the receptionist that Smith was “either having a heart attack or has indigestion.” “I don’t think it was 30 seconds before they took me to triage and did some bloodwork and put me on an EKG. Another minute later, they said, ‘Get a bed! We need a room,’” said Smith. “They hooked me up with all kinds of other stuff, and told me I

was having a heart attack.” “People came from everywhere,” said Osborn. “There must’ve been 15 people around. Some were putting IVs in each arm, some were putting those heart leads on, another one was on the phone trying to get a helicopter to transport him to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, but it was too windy. It was like in slow motion – I was

watching all these people like they were choreographed in a play. It was incredible to me. Then the doctor (Dennis Mays, MD, a LeConte emergency medicine doctor) came in, and he was, of course, listening to the heart. Everybody was doing a different thing.” “They started asking me questions about how I felt,” Smith added. “I said, ‘I feel fine. I don’t feel dizzy. I don’t feel weak. I don’t have any pains. I just have a little pain right here and it’s not bad.” When asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is it?” Smith said, “Maybe a .5.” “Five?” the staff asked. “I said, ‘No, point 5.’ I could barely feel it,” he recalled. By 11:30 p.m. Smith was in the back of an ambulance, chatting with the emergency medical technicians as they raced to Fort Sanders Regional’s emergency department. Along the way, the EMTs were feeding information to Fort Sanders Regional emergency department staff. Upon arrival at Fort Sanders Regional, he was wheeled directly to the cath lab where he was met by interventional cardiologist Joshua Todd, MD, who found Smith’s right coronary artery to be 100 percent blocked, requiring a stent. “He was showDr. Joshua Todd ing me my heart on the monitor and how the blockage was like a big stop sign – no blood could pass through anymore,” said Smith. “Then they put the stent in, and Boom! – you could see it open up and go right down to

the heart. It was just incredible! You’re awake the whole time, and you don’t feel a thing. I was amazed that I didn’t feel any anxiety at all.” “I think part of that was the way that everybody handled it,” said Osborn, who says Smith’s heart catheterization and stent was finished and he was in recovery when she arrived at Fort Sanders Regional at 12:10 a.m. “They were so calm, so forthcoming with information. They told me everything that was going on and that really reduced my anxiety, because I’ve never been through this before. They were so kind about giving me every single detail about what was going to happen, where it was going to happen, and I think that was very important. They all deserve credit for the way they handled everything so professionally. And not just professionally – the kindness they exhibited was really important.” A day and a half later, Smith was discharged from Fort Sanders Regional with instructions not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for seven days. After the seventh day, he didn’t rest. Instead, he returned to the task he was working on before his heart attack – building a threebedroom, two-bath home for him and Osborn to “flip” in two years – something the couple has been doing for 17 years as they travel throughout the United States. For now, however, Smith’s heart has found a home in Sevierville, where Osborn plans to keep a close watch. “If you have a pain, don’t be embarrassed, don’t feel badly – just go!” she said. “If they tell you that you’ve got indigestion, great! But it might not be.”

Heart attacks often mistaken for indigestion Heartburn or heart attack? Michael Smith couldn’t tell the difference. Could you? Decide quickly, because depending on what type of heart attack you have, your best chance for survival is getting to the hospital within the first three hours of your symptoms. “Indigestion can be a common symptom,” said Joshua Todd, MD, the interventional cardiologist at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center who placed a stent in Smith’s right coronary artery. “Patients tend to ignore the initial symptoms of a heart attack and may attempt other alternative strategies to help alleviate pain such as antacids or pain medications, including aspirin. When the symptoms aren’t relieved, that’s when EMS is usually called.” In fact, a recent survey of 500 heart attack survivors found that eight out of 10 failed to realize that they were having a heart attack. One-third of those mistook their symptoms for indigestion. The study

also found that half of heart attack sufferers do not seek help for more than an hour because they think they have indigestion or other minor conditions. “It can be hard even for physicians to interpret these symptoms” said Dr. Todd. “Based on a patient’s symptoms and their risk factor profile, the chance that indigestion-like signs are indicators of a blood flow problem with the heart can range from 20 to 90 percent. “The emergency department is the best place to determine the patient’s risk by rapidly obtaining an EKG within 10 minutes of the patient’s arrival. This test will tell which type of heart attack a patient is experiencing – STEMI (ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) or NonSTEMI,” he added. The diagnosis of a STEMI heart attack is made by a combination of symptom indicators and an EKG tracing that shows elevated “ST” segments, indicating an artery is totally blocked. “There are large amounts of data show-

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ing that if you have that type heart attack, sooner is better for interventional action because the artery is 100 percent blocked,” said Dr. Todd. “If the EKG does not demonstrate this finding, a medical evaluation is performed which involves obtaining laboratory testing over the next several hours to see if heart cell death has occurred. The first EKG is how we determine who is emergently transported to the cath lab.” The best time for treatment is within the first three hours of the onset of symptoms. After 12 hours of continued symptoms, there is little benefit to procedures offered in the cath lab. Individuals at risk for a heart attack should be well informed of these facts. If you can recognize the symptoms of heart attack early and get to the hospital, you can receive the most effective treatment. Hospitals without the ability to perform emergent interventions like LeConte Medical Center have established “STEMI” teams that spring into action the moment

a heart patient enters their emergency department. “If a person presents with symptoms that may by caused by a heart attack, they receive an EKG rapidly, and if the patient meets criteria, the STEMI team is activated,” said Dr. Todd. “After the STEMI team is activated, a request is sent to an EMS emergency transport provider. LeConte then notifies the cath lab team at Fort Sanders Regional so that the team is ready to go before the patient arrives.” Michael Smith learned that it’s not how much you hurt, but why you are hurting. “Pain intensity is not as important as the EKG findings,” said Dr. Todd. “Mistaking a heart attack for heartburn is not uncommon. Reflux disease can present the same way. For every one patient who is having a heart attack, there are probably 10 with the same symptoms who aren’t. If you are having symptoms that may represent a heart attack, prompt presentation to qualified medical personnel who can perform and interpret an ECG may be life-saving.”

South Knox Shopper news • February 22, 2017 • A-3


From page A-1

The Candoro Marble building is at the corner of Maryville Pike and Candora Avenue.

Muffin knows how to be unobtrusive during lesson time with Franklin McMillan, Alexis Jones and Cohn.

Candoro inspires

“Muffin makes the children feel loved,” says Cohn. “She greets them at the door in the morning, gives them kisses during the day, and lies next to them during lessons.” Therapy dogs have the unique ability to soothe and create a general sense of calm, which is why they are frequently used in classrooms, especially to help kids read aloud. The theory makes sense. Dogs don’t criticize or judge, creating an environment where the kids are not afraid to make mistakes.

COMMUNITY NOTES ■■ South Knox Republican Club. Info: Kevin Teeters, ■■ Colonial Village Neighborhood Association. Info: Terry Caruthers, 865-579-5702, ■■ Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Firearms Association. Info: Liston Matthews, 865-316-6486. ■■ Knoxville Tri-County Lions Club. Info: tricountylions/info. ■■ Lake Forest Neighborhood Association. Info: Molly Gilbert, 865-209-1820 or

File photo

From page A-1

ing’s historic marble walls and floors, but in building and garage. Gilbert gave insights their hypothetical plans, many of the more not only into Barber’s background but also recently added features would need to go. the lives of Samuel Yellin, the master PhilaMolly Gilbert became obsessed with delphia iron artist who created Candoro’s East Tennessee pink marble when she real- iconic wrought-iron front door, and Albert ized how prevalent it was in her home and Milani, the Italian-born stone carver who others in her Lake Forest neighborhood. served as Candoro’s foreman for 40 years. Gilbert brought their personalities to life Now a member of the board of the Candoro Arts & Heritage Center, which is based at and, in the process, gave a new perspective Candoro Marble, Gilbert created the Ten- on that inconspicuous building in Vestal. Info: nessee Pink Marble Trail, a guide to sites in South Knoxville and downtown, mostly, that boast examples of pink marble. Gilbert credits Dr. Susan Knowles of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University with much of her education on pink marble, but the student has now become a teacher. She spoke last week at KMA’s Dine & Discover luncheon. Gilbert’s talk was on “The Men of CanMuffin frequently comes to school with her owner, Lindsey doro Marble,” and the packed room made Fehl Cohn, kindergarten teacher at Mooreland Heights it clear that Knoxvillians are interested in knowing Candoro’s history. Many locals Cohn describes how lationship that helped turn are aware of the work of architect Charles HABIT dogs can also help around his behavior.” Barber, who designed the Candoro main UT students Hannah Allender and Ashley Wolff build a bridge of underAnd as a therapy dog, standing between students Muffin helps soothe tenand teachers: sions for teachers as well. “The stress of the day can “I once had a very challenging student who didn’t wear on our patience and seem to care about any sort tolerance, but Muffin brings of reward system. When he a smile and a renewed sense thought I wasn’t looking, I of joy.” saw him kneeling next to Kindergartener Millie Muffin, gently petting her Davis sums up Muffin’s role and saying, ‘It will be al- perfectly: “She is a therapy dog and right,’ as though he was saying it for himself. From that helps us, but she’s really just point we began using ‘Ex- part of the class.” For more information clusive Muffin Time’ when he would pet her and talk to about the HABIT program, me. I learned so much about call 865-974-5633 or email Knoxville Museum of Art executive director David Butler poses with Molly Gilbert after her talk him and we developed a re- on “The Men of Candoro.” Photos by Betsy Pickle

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A-4 • February 22, 2017 • South Knox Shopper news

First Pets with a following By Kip Oswald Over the last weeks, I have been writing about our past First Pets, but there have been some pets that have become very famous! So how does a dog Kip or cat become so famous they have books written about them, receive letters from thousands of fans, or have money sent to them? It started with Laddie Boy, the famous terrier of our 29th president, Warren Harding. Laddie Boy led a parade on his own float, had his own handcarved chair to sit on during the President’s meetings and was even quoted in the newspaper as if he had been interviewed by a reporter. When President Harding died, the Newsboys Association had every newsboy in the country send in one penny so the pennies could be melted down into a statue of Laddie Boy. The statue is still in the Smithsonian Institution. There was a book and a movie written about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous terrier, Fala. Fala went everywhere with the president, even sleeping in the president’s bed. During World War II, Fala was photographed giving a dollar to help with the war, which caused thousands of his fans

to send in a dollar, too. Although many dogs lived in the White House, only one wrote about her adventures there. Millie, George H. W. Bush’s dog, wrote “Millie’s Book,” with the help of President Bush’s wife, Barbara. It was on the New York Times best-seller’s list for months. President Bill Clinton not only had a famous dog but also a famous cat. His dog, Buddy, and his cat, Socks, received letters from all over the world, and the first lady decided to publish the letters into books that were read by hundreds of children. Not only were dogs and cats famous, but Herbert Hoover, our 31st president, had a famous pet opossum. Hoover found him wandering outside the White House, and when a local baseball team saw his picture in the paper, they thought he was their lost mascot, Billy. When members of the team came to the White House to get the opossum, the animal hid from them, so the boys left a note for the president to send Billy to the games for good luck. Hoover did and the team won its games. Now that we have learned about many of the strange and famous past First Pets, what do you think Barron Trump, President Donald Trump’s young son, will get as a pet if he gets one?

PTA members donated 15 Sam Brooks, Kelly Clemmer and Sarah Brooks taste samples of chili as judges for the Gap Creek crock-pots’ worth of chili to the event. Chili Cook-off. Photos by Betsy Pickle

Chili today, Wesley Woods tomorrow By Betsy Pickle It had been four years since the Gap Creek Elementary School PTA had held a chili cook-off, and the tabletops covered with slow cookers proved that parents were eager to show off their recipes. The judges gave serious consideration to the 14 qualifying entries (a 15th arrived late). Sam Brooks, husband of music teacher Carrie Brooks; Sarah Brooks, an intervention specialist at the school and Sam’s daughter; and Kelly Clemmer, a former Gap Creek teacher, mulled over different

qualities – thickness of sauce, variety of beans, spiciness or lack thereof. Each had a different bias regarding type, with Clemmer preferring spicy and the Brooks pair less so. Each also had a different grading system; Clemmer used smiley and frowning faces. They worked quickly but carefully. “It’s very close, and we’re not experts,” said Sam Brooks. PTA president Janine Lewelling said the last chili cook-off, organized in 2014, was snowed out. After the judges do their work, parents and kids – many already at school for parent-

teacher conferences – are encouraged to come dine and make a donation. Last week’s event was a big success, with pretty much all of the chili gone by the end and about $250 raised to help fund the fifth-graders’ March trip to Camp Wesley Woods. The winning chili entries were: first place, Shannon Milbourn, parent of a second-grader; second place, Lewelling (“I never win anything!” she said), who has a fifth-grader at Gap Creek; and third place, Mary Dalton, one of the school’s special education teachers.

Send your comments to Next week, we will learn about famous First Kids!

‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’ underway Knoxville Children’s Theatre will present “Disney’s Beauty and The Beast Jr.” Thursdays-Sundays, Feb. 24-March 12, at 109 E. Churchwell Ave. The play is an onstage version of the Broadway musical, written for ages 4 and older. Performances are 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 1 and 5 p.m. Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $12; special rate for adult and child entering together, $10. Info/ tickets: 865-208-3677 or

Winners earned gold, silver and bronze ladles, along with Food City, Visa and Chick-fil-A gift cards and Dunkin’ Donuts.

865-314-8171 KN-1462193

Among the first to dine, fourth-grader Aloria Slusher and second-grader Raegan Slusher mixed different chilis in their bowls. Naturally, they favored their own submissions, made by mom Tara Slusher and grandfather Marty Slusher.

South Knox Shopper news • February 22, 2017 • A-5

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. (1 Peter 1: 18-19 NRSV) Your gift of Love they crucified; They laughed and scorned Him as He died. The humble King they named a fraud And sacrificed the Lamb of God. (“Lamb of God,” Twila Paris) Last week, in this space, I wrote these words: “God watched His own Son die, with no lamb to take his place.” The context of that was Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only, longawaited son in obedience to God’s command. Even as Abraham agonizingly raised his knife, God gave Abraham a reprieve, and allowed him to substitute a lamb for the sacrifice and let Isaac live. I read those words again, after the column was in print. It was only then that the truth dawned on me. Jesus was the Lamb who took my place, and yours. There was no substitute available to God. I had known that truth, of course, for years and years. Even so, it struck me anew, with a power that brought me up short.

Cross Currents

Lynn Pitts

It brought me face to face with God’s pain as He allowed His son to die. And it made me realize all over again how much God cared for – and cares for – these sinners that we are! Ash Wednesday is one week from today, March 1. It is a day of penitence and prayer. In whatever way you observe the beginning of Lent, spend some quiet time thinking about your own walk with God. Ask God to forgive your failings and to guide your steps every day. Give thanks for God’s mercy and love.

Butterfly Fund benefit to fight child cancer The Beta Lambda Chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority adopted The Butterfly Fund of East Tennessee Foundation as one of its local philanthropies in 2016. The group was drawn to The Butterfly Fund for the incredible work it does locally toward research and treatment to defeat childhood cancers, organizers said. Both founders of The Butterfly Fund lost their daughters to Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, in 2008. The Butterfly Fund continuously donates to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and CureSearch in hopes of one day finding a cure. Delta Zeta is hosting a gala, Bow Ties and Butterflies, on behalf of The Butterfly Fund. The event will be 4-6 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at the Delta Zeta House in Sorority Village at the University of Tennessee. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children (up to age 12). Oncology patients get in free. Children are encouraged to come dressed up in their favorite princess or superhero costume and enjoy appearances from Glenn Jacobs (WWE wrestler Kane), balloon artists from Volunteer Balloons, Miss Knoxville, Morgan Wallen, and more. All proceeds will support The Butterfly Fund of East Tennessee Foundation. Info/RSVP: Delta Zeta’s vice president of philanthropy, Elizabeth Longmire, dzbetalambdaphilanthropy@gmail. com Checks and credit cards will also be accepted at the door.

Come to the L&N By Abbey Morgan Join us for family-fun event at the L&N! The second annual STEM Around the World will take place noon to 4 p.m. SatMorgan urday, Feb. 25, at 401 Henley Street. Families will experience various Asian, African and European ethnic foods, watch cultural performances and learn about traditions and tolerance through crafts and activities. It is fun for the whole family! Children can play in the KidZone for face painting and fun games. There is a $5 cash donation to experience the fun at the L&N STEM Academy. Additional food will also be sold. The proceeds will benefit L&N’s class of 2017. Each year, instead of participating in a senior prank, the seniors provide a meaningful gift to the school. This is the major fundraiser for the graduating class.

This is also a wonderful opportunity to visit the beautiful, historic L&N building. This Knoxville landmark has been standing since 1905. The Louisville & Nashville train company once called this building its home. It now serves as Knox County’s first stand-alone magnet school. The building has held a variety of people from different cultures across the world. This will be symbolized through the celebration of cultures from all over the globe at STEM Around the World. This year the event will focus on tolerance among all cultures. Because the L&N STEM Academy is home to high school students from all over the county, this is extremely relevant. The school is a melting pot and has a welcoming atmosphere. This is an attitude that should be promoted worldwide. For more information, contact the L&N STEM Academy at 865-329-8440 or email Derek Griffin at derek. Abbey Morgan is a senior at the L&N STEM Academy.

By Carol Z. Shane The Rev. Dr. William Pender of First Presbyterian Church says the goals behind the church’s massive three-part renovation are “access and flow.” Built in 1792 as Knoxville’s first church, the building had been altered and expanded over the years, resulting in a confusing interior layout and zero compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. “We didn’t have a single ADA-approved entrance or bathroom,” says Pender. Now at least two entrances and elevator vestibules are wheelchair-accessible, and there’s much more to come. “Phase One has focused on the south – the Church Street – side,” says Pender. It included the chapel, Sunday school classrooms and a parlor. The former choir room on the top floor is now a bright, spacious multi-level suite for the youth of the church. Orga nist/choir ma ster Mark Pace is especially happy about the chapel renovation because he no longer has to go to other churches to practice. The beautiful Taylor-Boody organ that’s been waiting quietly, safely tucked away from the rubble, is now accessible. “It’s so nice to have!” he says. Pace arrived here only last year, when the renovation was fully underway. Not surprisingly, a few treasures were discovered during the demolition. The massive rock fronting State Street is now fully revealed

after decades hiding under the steps leading up to the chapel entrance. “Some old-timers remember playing ‘King of the Hill’ on that rock,” says Pender. A treasure of a much different sort was found inside. Standing in the back of the sanctuary, Pender points out that the room dates from 1903, while the balcony was added later in 1920. “There were stained glass windows on either side,” he says, gesturing toward the blank, load-bearing walls which were plastered over to support the seating overhead. One window has always been evident, though


Linda Rust will not run for City Council

■■ Knoxville Senior Co-Ed Softball league games, 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 4-Oct. 26, Caswell Park, 570 Winona St. Cost: $10. Noncompetitive league for men over 60 and women over 55. Info: Bob Rice, 865-573-2189 or kxsenior

Linda Rust has canceled plans to run for Knoxville City Council from District 1 where incumbent Nick Pavlis is term-limited. Rust, administrator inthe city’s Community Development Department, learned last week that state law prohibits municipal employees

■■ South Knox Senior Center, 6729 Martel Lane. Info: 865573-5843.

The Rev. Dr. William Pender and organist Mark Pace discuss the newly discovered 1903 stained glass window recently uncovered by the renovation crew at First Presbyterian Church. Photo by Carol Z. Shane

■■ South Knox Community Center, 522 Old Maryville Pike. Info: 865-573-3575.

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sibilities for the CDD take place in the second quarter, and she said she did not feel right leaving her department in the lurch. “I’m disappointed, but we’ll just have to find someone good to represent South Knoxville and Fort Sanders.” – Betsy Pickle



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from running for city offices. She had anticipated staying on the job until after the election, then resigning if she won in November. Rust said that in order to run, she would have to resign before turning in a qualifying petition, due no later than May 18. Two of her major respon-

church’s long history. Pender is pleased with the results so far. “We have repurposed so much of the building that we weren’t using. One of our jobs is to have a ministry of facility. In any given week, we have more nonmembers come in than members – the Tennessee Stage Company, AA, the YWCA, the Community School of the Arts.” Phase Two will include the sanctuary, offices and north side. Pace is looking forward to having the main 1963 Casavant Freres, Lte. organ back, as well as other changes. “Yay! It’ll finally happen,” he says. “Won’t that be great?”



it’s visible only from the exterior on the church’s north side. What happened to its companion? Was it there on the opposite side, under the plaster? Turns out it was. A previous attempt to investigate with a small scope didn’t work because that side of the window had been painted white. But, “we were literally in the finishing stages, cutting in this door,” says Pender, “when one of the workmen said, ‘do you know there’s a window in the wall?’” The 1903 window now holds a glassedin place of honor and is a touching reminder of the


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A-6 • February 22, 2017 • South Knox Shopper news

The Rotary guy

World Rotary Day at Beaumont Elementary By Tom King

Several South Knoxville Alliance members turned out to support the ribbon-cutting of new neighbor and member Rocky Top Air. From left are Jim Maples of Southland Wine and Spirits, Bob Riehl of Borderland Tees, Bobbye Edwards of Tea & Treasures, Gerald Allison and Ben Granger of Rocky Top Air and Bill Lenczynski of Edward Jones. Photo by Betsy Pickle

Rocky Top Air finds home sweet home By Betsy Pickle When Gerald Allison and Ben Granger decided to start a heating and airconditioning business eight years ago, one of their first tasks was choosing a name. “Sometimes companies are named after what you do or how you do it, like Quality or Precision,” says Allison. “Or you name it after yourselves, which we didn’t want to do, or where you are geographically. “So we thought about ‘Smoky Air,’ and that just didn’t sound right,” he says, laughing. “We started thinking along the lines of something that people love here already. Ben actually came up with Rocky Top Air, and I said, ‘Man, that has a ring to it.’ ” Granger and Allison were shocked when they researched and found out the name had not already been taken.

“There’s Rocky Top everything else,” says Allison. “It was just perfect for us. It’s an easy name to remember. And it’s something that people have, most times, good feelings toward.” Rocky Top Air spent about a year on Sutherland Avenue before moving to Martin Mill Pike in 2010. In December 2015, Allison and Granger bought the building at 3821 W. Blount Ave., and Granger and a few employees spent the winter renovating it. They opened on Friday the 13th – May 13, 2016 – and have had good luck ever since. On Feb. 15, they had an official ribbon-cutting event through the FarragutWest Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, a networking group with more than 700 members. They have joined the South Knoxville Alliance of Businesses and Profession-

als, and several SKA members attended the ribboncutting. The move took Rocky Top from 2,600 square feet to 8,000 square feet. The building has brightened the corner of Blount and Maryville Pike. “It’s enjoyable to take something that’s a little bit of an eyesore and make it nice for the community and everybody that drives up and down here every day,” says Allison. “We love being in South Knoxville.” Allison started in the heating and air-conditioning business in Knoxville when he was 16. Granger got his start in the same field in New Orleans when he was 18. They both had years of experience behind them by the time they met 15 years ago, after Granger moved to East Tennessee. Granger says he came

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here because he didn’t want his kids to grow up in New Orleans. “It’s nice to visit and have family there,” he says. “But I think the quality of life is much better in Tennessee.” Allison, who has three children, grew up in East Knox County. He says about half of the Rocky Top Air employees live in South Knoxville. The company serves Knox and surrounding counties and even does commercial work in other states. “I want to join with business leaders to help grow South Knoxville,” says Allison. His company is already growing. “We’ve noticed a little bit of uptick, but we certainly expect to and would love to be the service provider for the people and businesses in our area,” Allison says.

Knoxville Rotarians will celebrate World Rotary Day three days from now on Saturday, Feb. 25, doing what Rotarians do – workTom King ing together to improve our community. Members of the seven Knoxville clubs will gather at Beaumont Elementary School to clean out a teacher’s work room, rake, mulch, build a timber wall around a tree and create some “flowers” and “pencils” out of plywood and fence pickets, and do some painting. Working alongside the Rotarians will be students from the Rotary Interact clubs at Webb School and Catholic High. The work begins at 9 a.m., and Bearden Rotarian George Wehrmaker, owner of Bright Side Professional Landscape Management, will be the job foreman and ramrod. Rotarians will bring leaf rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, paint brushes, leaf blowers, a jigsaw and drills along with a lot of elbow grease. George brings along trucks and equipment and orders all of the materials that will be needed. Part of the work was done this past weekend by another Rotarian – Doug Lesher of the Lanrick Group, a member of the Knoxville Breakfast Rotary Club.

Doug has access to a truckmounted pressure washer, and he and his crew did the required pressure washing so as not to interfere with the work on Saturday. “Rotary Serving Humanity” is our theme this Rotary year, a theme selected by Rotary International President John Germ. We’ll be working together on Saturday to help one of our schools – and humanity. ■■ Volunteer Rotary

event is March 9

Knoxville Volunteer Rotary’s fundraiser – the 2017 Bourbon Showcase and Dinner – is planned Thursday, March 9, at the K-Town Tavern at 320 N. Peters Road from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and the proceeds will support the renovation of the library at Sarah Moore Greene Elementary School. You can find more information on the club’s Facebook page. ■■ RCK has new

Peace Committee

The Rotary Club of Knoxville has a new committee for 2017-18. The RCK Peace Committee’s purpose is to support peace-building in the Knoxville community through the study of conflict and conflict resolution training. The committee will select  a recipient  for a new annual RCK Peace Award, to be presented at a ceremony in  the Rotary Peace Garden  at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

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South Knox Shopper news • February 22, 2017 • A-7

Who is in charge at Tennessee? The University of Tennessee has endured considerable criticism and some snickering because it wasn’t ready or able to immediately name a new athletic director. Alabama introduced a replacement for Bill Battle two days after he said goodbye. The secret courtship with Greg Byrne had been going on for months. Last summer, when Dave Hart didn’t get the contract extension he wanted, he announced his forthcoming retirement. Speculation has been romping along ever since. We’ve nominated two really good candidates. Neither has been ordained. OK, the Tennessee situation is different. First priority was to find a new chancellor. We finally got one but she was not ready to approve our suggestions. She wanted to look around. I dare not say that is a woman’s prerogative. I can say this delay caused a very bright Shopper reader to ask exactly who’s in charge at Tennessee? In theory, the chain of

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command goes like this: Coaches answer to the athletic director. He answers to the chancellor. She answers to the president. He answers to the board of trustees. Along the way, influential boosters chime in when they choose. Names on buildings probably carry more weight than little league contributors. I will not attempt a pecking order. You can guess who loans jets. In theory, trustees have the final say. Years of observation convinced me that trustees almost always approve whatever the president proposes. This is a political process. Money is the key word. How much does it cost and who is going to pay? ■■ Gov. Bill Haslam chairs the board. Raja J. Jubran, UT engineering honors graduate of a generation ago, founder and CEO of Denark Construction,

prominent in Clayton Bank, is vice chair. He has had lots to say about settlements of Title IX and sexual harassment lawsuits but not much about athletic directors. ■■ Dr. Joe DiPietro, president of the university system, is a voting member except on audit and compliance matters. ■■ Ex-Vol Charles Anderson, CEO of Anderson Media, is an influential trustee. He is from the Florence, Ala., family that founded Books a Million. He is on the committee searching desperately for a new athletic director. He is also on the executive and compensation committee.

The athletics committee: ■■ Spruell Driver Jr., UT graduate with a Duke law degree, is a contract specialist with Vanderbilt’s sponsored programs administration. ■■ D. Crawford Gallimore, graduate of UT-Martin, is chief financial officer for HamiltonRyker, job placement company in Martin.

■■ Shannon A. Brown is senior VP, human resources and diversity officer for FedEx. ■■ Dr. William E. Evans, UT grad, retired as director and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Hospital. ■■ George E. Cates retired from MidAmerica Apartment Communities in Memphis. ■■ Dr. Susan Davidson is a professor of nursing at UT-C. ■■ John N. Foy, UT law grad, is retired from CBL & Associates Properties in Chattanooga. ■■ Candice McQueen, state commissioner of education, is an ex officio voting member.


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■■ Rhedona Rose is executive VP of Tennessee Farm Bureau. ■■ Miranda N. Rutan is a student at UT-Martin. ■■ Jai Templeton, state commissioner of agriculture, is an ex officio voting member. ■■ John D. Tickle, UT grad, chairs Strongwell Corporation.

■■ Vicky Brown Gregg retired as chief executive officer of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Her roots are in Cleveland.

■■ Julia T. Wells, UT grad, is VP of marketing for Pictsweet.

■■ Brad Lampley, ex-Vol, twice a graduate of UT, is with Adams and Reese law firm in Nashville.

■■ Tommy G. Whittaker, UT grad, is president and CEO of First Farmers Bancshares.

■■ Charles E. Wharton, UT grad, is CEO of Poplar Creek Farms,.

Chris Edmonds talks to President Barack Obama while Sen. Bob Corker (center) looks on. The Nazi drew his pistol and pressed it hard into Roddie’s forehead. He repeated the order: “You will order the Jewish men to step forward.” Nobody moved. “Dad had been shot, beaten with a rifle butt, punched, attacked by dogs, stripped of his dignity… Yet there he stood with a gun to his head, disobeying Nazi orders. Lester Tanner said, ‘Your dad never wavered.’” “Dad said, ‘Major, if you shoot me, you’ll have to kill all of us because we know who you are. And you’ll stand trial for war crimes when we win this war.’” The Nazi’s arm began to tremble. He holstered his gun and returned to his office. Seventy years later, Chris was visiting Israel at the request of officials who wanted to honor his father, and Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial to Holocaust victims, named Rod-

The first week of February, I visited Easter Island in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,300 miles east of Chile, which owns the island. It had been on my bucket list for years. Two other Knoxvillians who have previously visited Easter Island are Will Skelton, active

■■ Dr. Jefferson S. Rogers is a professor of geography at UT-Martin.

Betty Bean named Lester Tanner, who mentioned that he and many other Jewish GIs owed their lives to the bravery of a master sergeant named Roddie Edmonds. Chris contacted Tanner, who introduced him to another former POW, and the old soldiers, who have become like family, told him a remarkable story. The war was going badly for Germany by January 1945, but the Nazi determination to exterminate Jews never flagged, and Jewish soldiers were instructed to destroy their dog tags if they were taken prisoner lest they be assigned to camps that they couldn’t survive. On Jan. 26, Roddie Edmonds got word that Jewish prisoners were going to be taken away the next morning after roll call. As the highest-ranking soldier there (officers were sent to separate camps), he told his men that they could not allow this to happen. The next morning, the camp commander ordered Master Sgt. Edmonds to send the Jews forward. Every prisoner there obeyed the order. “The commander could not believe his eyes – all 1,300 men standing together in sharp formation.” And that’s when Roddie said, “We are all Jews here.”

A visit to Easter Island

■■ Sharon J. Pryse, UT grad, is president and CEO of Trust Company in Knoxville.

A son’s discovery brings father’s heroism to life World War II veteran Roddie Edmonds was always a hero in his son’s eyes, even though he never volunteered details about what had happened after the Germans captured him during the Battle of the Bulge. Chris Edmonds, who grew up to become a Baptist minister, says his father’s beliefs were uncomplicated: “There is a God and God is good. We must be good to one another. Loving others is what Dad did well. I think he was gifted to do that,” Edmonds told the Volunteer Rotary Club. “And here’s another truth. Evil is real. Dad believed that God was good and evil was real, and it was wrong. He knew this from his faith and his Tennessee roots – right was always right and evil was wrong.” Roddie Edmonds died in 1985, and 20 years passed before Chris’s mother gave him a journal Roddie had kept during his time as a master sergeant in the 106th Infantry, including 100 days in two different German POW camps. “The story begins with an old diary, weathered and fragile. It belonged to a young man from Tennessee who was fighting for his country on a continent on the edge of collapse,” Chris Edmonds said. “It touched my heart.” Wanting more information, Chris ran a Google search on Roddie’s name. He found a story about Richard Nixon buying a Manhattan townhouse from a lawyer

last words

Other trustees:

die “Righteous Among the Nations,” an award given to gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews. He is one of five American soldiers to be so honored. Last year, Chris was invited to speak about his father at an award ceremony at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. President Obama was there, along with filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Afterward, Obama sought Chris out. “He was visibly moved,” Chris said. “The last thing he said was, ‘Chris, after you finished talking, I leaned over to Steven and said, ‘I think there’s a movie here.’” Now, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Rep. Jimmy Duncan are working to get Roddie Edmonds a Congressional Gold Medal. Chris says: “I hope the next remarkable event will be at the White House to present Dad with the Medal of Honor.”

greenways advocate and retired attorney, and Jeff Chapman, well respected director of the McClung Museum on the UT Knoxville campus. Getting there is part of the adventure, as one flies to Santiago, the capital of Chile, overnight and then flies five hours west over the Pacific to the island, which is partway to Australia from Chile. There are daily flights to the island from Santiago. Otherwise, one goes by ship, and they are infrequent. About 8,000 people live on 44 square miles in the middle of incredible statues carved on the island centuries ago. In addition to being an open air museum, the island offers outstanding diving, snorkeling and surfing. Hanga Roa is the main and only town. The airport is next to the town. Much of the island is part of the national park established by Chile. Tourism is now its main industry. No one knows for sure how the island was first inhabited or when or how the statues (moai) were made and then moved to different sites on the island. The theories are just theories. It is believed the first settlers arrived from the Marquesas islands between the 4th and 8th centuries. Today about 90,000 tourists visit the island. At times the population has dwindled to a few hundred. I was able to visit the quarry of a long extinct volcano where some 400 statues with oversized heads have been counted in various shapes, sizes and conditions. The photo here is typical of what exists. The climate is tropical but seldom exceeds 82 degrees. Accommodations and food are much better than adequate but not deluxe. It can be expensive as most supplies are imported from the mainland of Chile. ■■ Bearden activist Terry Faulkner says she will not run for city council

this fall as she needs to be home assisting her husband, who has been ill. However, she will continue to speak out on issues and indicated she has not decided whom to support among Wayne Christensen, David Williams and Andrew Roberto, the declared candidates in the West Knoxville city district. ■■ New UTK Chancellor Beverly Davenport says she will spend time getting to know state lawmakers as part of her introduction to Tennessee. In the same news conference, she announced her opposition to legislation by state Rep. Martin Daniel to guarantee free speech on college campuses, saying it is not needed. However, she was not precise as to what provisions in it she dislikes. Her comments made it appear she had not read the legislation, which she will need to do prior to meeting with Daniel. Davenport was able to avoid explaining why she failed to appoint a single African-American to the Athletic Director search committee and named only one woman to the six-member task force. At some point she will have to address these issues while she promotes diversity. ■■ Attorney James Corcoran is running for the city council seat currently held by Brenda Palmer. So is Jodi Mullins, who has the backing of Palmer. Corcoran has a page on Facebook. He ran a strong race in the GOP primary last year for state representative, which was ultimately won by Martin Daniel. Half the district is inside the city of Knoxville. ■■ County Commissioner Bob Thomas turns 63 today, March 1, and City Law Director Charles Swanson, husband of Judge Pam Reeves, also turns 63 on March 6. ■■ Middle Tennessee U.S. Rep. Diane Black will be in Knoxville today talking to people about her campaign for governor next year and attending a UT basketball game tonight. Attorney Jeff Hagood is helping her campaign.

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A-8 • February 22, 2017 • South Knox Shopper news

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