Farragut Life Spring 2024

Page 34

Life

Fashion Designer ANDY BURLESON

Vallie Collins

MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON

MASTER GARDNER

GAYLE FISHER

Ferns & Bleeding Hearts

SPRING 2024

Taking Care of Our Future, One Child at A Time

Since 1937, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has been your partner in expert care for your child. From primary care to emergencies and surgeries, our team is here to put your family first. We are there every step of the way.

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features Contents 48 60 32 VALLIE COLLINS: An East Tennesean's Memories Of The Miracle On The Hudson JONATHAN SKRMETTI: Is Social Media Harming Our Children? FERNS AND BLEEDING HEARTS GAYLE FISHER 16 ANDY BURLESON, FASHION DESIGNER He Is The Son of Our Late Friend, Robert Burleson, Photographer & Classical Guitarist PRESERVING THE PAST The Photography of Bill Steber 54 Master Gardener 14 ROBERT PRESTON Running Marathons in 40 States And On Seven Continents An East Tennessean in the New York Art World Michael Watson 22 10 8 40 28 50 36 56 14

NEW WILD WEST COMES SOUTH 46

58

”I

49

8

6 From The Publisher

11 Farragut High School

11

20 Ingles Table Recipes

Business Focus

32 Premier Eyecare

22 Southern Market

67 Looking Back

54 Southern Market

60 Shop Farragut

62 Tellico Plains

64

departments
LINE TENNESSEE
BLUE
52
From The Publisher SMALL BUSINESS FOCUS
Shopping
Downtown Madisonville
Dixie
Roller Mill
RICHARD SPURLING
Happenings DR.
Wish I Had Done More" 41 48 34
Virtual Enterprise
16 Ingles Table Recipes BRIDGE OVER BALD RIVER FALLS
38 Jiffy Lube
62
Spring Happenings

From thePublisher

Spring is finally here, which means flowers, new growth, and most of all—Easter, the holiest day of the year where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In this issue, we’ve prepared stories about some fascinating people from East Tennessee—from Vallie Collins who was a passenger aboard the Miracle on the Hudson, to Rob Preston who ran a marathon on Mount Everest.

The issue also includes interviews with a native East Tennessean who is a major fashion designer with FILA and Tennessee’s Attorney General, Jonathan Skrmetti, discussing the new lawsuit against social media companies.

These issues every quarter are a labor of love, and we hope you love them as much as we enjoy creating them. Thank you to the advertisors who make the local publications possible!

PUBLICATIONS: REACHING MORE HOMEOWNERS THAN ANY PUBLISHER IN ET TOURISM EXPERIENCE: ANAKEESTA • RIPLEY’S • ANDERSON COUNTY 25 YEARS OF IN-HOUSE TELEVISION PRODUCTION: DOCUMENTARIES: KIPPY REGIONAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE • MONROE LIFE BALLOON FESTIVAL TWENTY FIVE STATE CONTRACTS: ANTI-METH • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE • DON’T
Lisa Atkins
6 FARRAGUT LIFE SPRING 2024

PUBLISHER

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President

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Graphic Designers

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Lisa Bingham

Cris Topher

Contributing Writers

Matt Hollingsworth

Gayle Fisher

Contributing Photographers

DoctorSid

Brandon Johnson

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Bleeding Heart

Master Gardener

Iwas sitting in a horticultural class when the person beside me said, “The one plant that I will never have in my garden is Bleeding Hearts, (Dicentra)”. He went on to relay that the name was very repulsive to him and the thought of a bleeding heart made him shiver. I have always thought the common name was perfect. After seeing this plant in bloom, you will never forget the plant or the name.

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DICENTRA SPECTABILIS

is an old-fashion dependable perennial with arching sprays of dangling heart shaped flowers. In the spring they send up soft, bright green leaves. The blooms last only for a few weeks in March and April. This bushy plant grows between one and two feet tall. You can choose it in three colors; rosy-pink, rose-red and white. The whites are less robust than the pinks. After blooming the plant goes dormant and disappears until the following spring.

You can grow Bleeding Hearts in light to full shade in a site with moist well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Plant them in the spring. Handle the plants carefully to avoid breaking the rhizomes, and dig organic matter into the soil. Set the plant so that the crown is slightly above ground level and not covered with soil. You will want to mark the locations of your Dicentra since it will be dormant for almost 10 months.

They need minimal care through the season. These plants are not heavy feeders, but they do appreciate an annual top dressing with compost. When the foliage turns yellow, cut the plants to the ground. Once planted Bleeding Hearts are best left undisturbed. They can be divided in spring if they outgrow their site or if the clumps become woody and die out in the centers. Cut the woody crowns apart with a knife, making sure that each piece has healthy buds and roots. Discard the

woody portion of the clump. Division is the best way to propagate.

In the landscape you can use them in a shade garden in combination with hostas, ferns, columbines and spring bulbs. Since this delicate beauty dies back early in the season, you

might want to put in the back of your flower bed. I have hardy phlox growing beside my Bleeding Heart and they cover nicely for the rest of the summer. My plants have been in place almost ten years and I delight at their return each spring. They are dependable perennials that won’t break your heart.

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Pink and red flowers of bleeding heart vine.

ADDICTING?

AN INTERVIEW WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL

Is Social Media Harming Our Children?

That’s the question behind a recent series of lawsuits from 42 states, including Tennessee, against Meta, the company behind Instagram and Facebook. These lawsuits allege that Meta is knowingly causing harm to minors, according to Jonathan Skrmetti, Tennessee’s Attorney General.

Tennessee’s lawsuit seeks to stop Meta’s “deceptive and unfair business practices that are fomenting a mental health crisis in this state.” It alleges that Meta “[designed] Instagram to be an addiction machine targeted at people under eighteen.”

This is the culmination of months of investigations by Skrmetti into social media companies and their effects on children as part of his consumer protection responsibilities. This is his “most important” priority at the moment.

In an interview with our magazine, Skrmetti said, “We are looking at the impact social media is having on children’s mental health, and there

I want to hold them accountable for that, and I want to make sure that they don’t do it anymore. We have seen significant effects on children that sure look like they’re a result of social media use, and it is creating generational problems.”

An example of research raising concerns about the effects of social media on children is a study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2020. According to the study, “Evidence from a variety of cross-sectional, longitudinal and empirical studies implicate smartphone and social media use in the increase in mental distress, self-injurious behaviour and suicidality among youth; there is a dose–response relationship, and the effects appear to be greatest among girls.” A letter signed by 44 State Attorneys General to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg quotes many other worrying studies. Despite this, there is evidence that these companies are trying to get children to join their platforms. Skrmetti referenced an article from NBC News that said, “Internal documents show that Facebook has been actively hiring employees to build products that target children as young as 6 to expand its user base.”

Tennessee’s lawsuit against Meta alleges that “Instagram did not become so addictive by accident. Meta dedicated vast resources to understand Young Users’ psychology and behavior so it could better exploit Young Users’ developmental vulnerabilities… Instagram’s addictive nature does not just fuel compulsive use—it also directly injures Young Users. In particular, compulsive Instagram use harms Young Users’ mental health and impairs important developmental processes and behaviors.”

The lawsuit adds, “In effect, Meta is conducting a potentially society-altering experiment on a generation of Young Users’ developing brains.”

Skrmetti said, “These companies have done a lot of good and created a lot of opportunities, but they’ve grown very quickly and they’ve

grown faster than the oversight can keep up, and it’s time for the oversight to catch up and make sure that, as these companies have grown and as they have offered opportunities for people to connect, that they are not putting children in a bad position and that they are not causing harm that will affect those kids for the rest of their lives.”

Tennessee’s previous attorney general, Herb Slatery, had also looked into this issue. In 2021, Slattery said, “This activity is harming our young people. Meta’s own documents show that. So they know what’s going on—they know the mental health risks for young users on Instagram, most notably teenage girls… What we have seen from our research, media accounts and even Congressional testimony confirms our position that Meta is not going to self-correct or police itself. An investigation by the states is necessary and underway.”

Jonathan Skrmetti was sworn in on September 1, 2022 as the start of an eight-year term. The position of the Attorney General is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. His main duties are representing the state in legal matters, aiding with consumer protection by holding companies accountable, and keeping the State self-governing by preventing overreach from the Federal government. Another duty is ensuring separation of power—that no one branch of government gets too powerful, which could lead to abuse.

“I want to leave a legacy of consumer protection,” Skrmetti said of his new position, “making sure that Tennesseans get treated fairly by companies, especially by the big tech companies. These are companies that have done amazing things but where there has not been a lot of oversight, and I want people to be confident that they know that when they engage in activity over the internet, that their data is being collected in fair and lawful ways and it’s not being used in ways that are unfair or that they don’t know about and to be sure that companies are giving them the services they advertise and not taking advantage of them.”

10 FARRAGUT LIFE SPRING 2024

TFARRAGUT HIGH SCHOOL’S Virtual Enterprise Class Plans a Trip to New York

he three high school students are dressed in business-professional suits. These are three of the student leaders of Farragut High School’s Virtual Enterprise Class which teaches students invaluable business skills as they run their own virtual (i.e. fictitious) business. But running a fictitious business takes a lot of real work, and it’s clear that these students and many of their classmates are passionate about this program and put in countless extra hours after school.

For this class, students join a community of over 600 high schools around the world, each running their own virtual business. The FHS class, specifically, runs a business offering relaxing retreats in the Smoky Mountains, London, Colorado, and elsewhere. But while the retreats may not be real, nearly everything else about the experience is. They have a fully functional website (StateOfMindTN.com), a sales team, a design team, a marketing department, and social media presence, all run by students. Each student in the class is “paid” virtual money which they spend on the virtual businesses run by the other 600 high schools participating in the program. Thus, the classes form their own miniature marketplace where businesses compete to offer the most appealing goods and services.

The students I’m talking to are just back from a fundraising meeting with a real business where they did a presentation on the class to solicit donations for their upcoming trip

to New York City where they will meet and network with the hundreds of other students from around the world taking this same class.

While all Virtual Enterprise classes run a virtual business of the kind described above, the students at FHS have an extra responsibility that none of the others have—they run the school store called the Admiral Outlet. This is a real business where students and their parents buy clothes designed and sold by the Virtual Enterprise class as well as candy, bags, and more. This is a real business with real money that the students are responsible for, and they have every incentive to run it well because every cent they make goes to funding the class, most notably the upcoming trip to New York. This means that the more they bring in through the store, the less they and their families will have to pay for the trip.

Students in the class submit resumes and interview with their teacher, Mrs. Kristi Ramsey, for roles at the virtual company. Right now, I’m talking to CEO William DeFranco, CFO Jacob Daurity, and Design Manager Kennedy Renfro, the three students with the impeccable dress sense.

“I wanted to learn real world business skills that I could use in my future career, hopefully in business,” said William “I’ve learned a lot. I think I’ve improved a lot in speaking skills… I’ve learned a lot about graphic design… Learning how to work with Canva has been a great skill, and then learning how to deal with money.”

Kennedy agreed, saying, “Virtual Enterprise has definitely helped me with learning how the aspects of a business run. I never thought I’d like business as much as I did, but I have learned so much more from this class… I love how we get to work with different departments—there’s finance, design, marketing, HR. There are so many different people you can collaborate with.”

Finally, Jacob added “I have nothing but good things to say about this class. It’s been a very good learning experience. I’ve done a bunch of jobs and internships, but this class helps me put it all together and practice it all.”

“I’m just so proud,” Mrs. Ramsey said of her students’ hard work, beautiful website, and professionally-run businesses—both virtual and real. She talks about how they’ll go above and beyond, designing shirts over the weekend for the Admiral Outlet, working online during the massive snowstorm, and coordinating schedules for pop-up stores without her having to ask. “I’m so lucky to be their teacher.”

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stateofmindtn.com
instragram.com/admiraloutlet
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CELEBRATING
Complimentary In-Home Consultations 13 SPRING 2024 FARRAGUT LIFE
14
years!

Ferns PTERIDOPHYTA

Of all the plants we enjoy today in our gardens and in the wild, ferns are some of the most ancient. They are one of the oldest groups of plants on Earth, with a fossil record dating back more than 350 million years. About 10,500 fern species are cataloged, with others still being studied. Ferns can be found growing in very diverse environments. They can grow in woodlands, swamps, stream banks, from rock crevices, and alongside waterfalls. Those growing on woodland floors tend to be the best ferns for gardens and landscapes. I have a fern bank growing along a path down by the pond. I always sigh and take a deep breath when I get to this area. These wood ferns or Christmas ferns make the path seem cooler.

Master Gardener

The ferns are growing along side moss in deep shade. The low light and moist earth is a delight to your senses. The fronds in dappled light give your eyes about 100 shades of green.

Unlike most plants, ferns do not have flowers or seeds. They primarily reproduce by spores, usually found on the underside of their leaves. Ferns, which can be clump-forming or spreading, are also able to reproduce by rhizomes. They can be divided every 3-5 years in spring or fall. Clump-forming varieties may become hollow in the center indicating it is time to divide that plant.

Most ferns grow best in partial shade. Evergreen varieties are more tolerant of deep shade. Ferns can also grow in dry soils as well as wet. They also prefer acidic soil. Our native Christmas fern is adaptable and can tolerate soil that is dry and slightly alkaline. The Christmas fern belongs to the group Pteridophyta (vascular plants that do not produce flowers and seed). It originates from North America, where it is widely spread and abundant. Typical forest grazers (such as deer) do not like to eat this fern because of its specific chemical composition. As a result, this fern can easily occupy new areas and prevent growth of other plants. People cultivate Christmas fern in their gardens as ornamental plant and/or use leaves of this fern for decorative purposes. This fern develops around 20 leaves better known as fronds.

Leaves are semi-erect before the first frost which pushes them toward the ground. Christmas fern has dark green, leathery, pinnate leaves. Each leaf consists of 20 to 35 pairs of lance-shaped leaflets with pointed tips. This fern can also reproduce via division of the rhizome. Daughter plants are coiled and called fiddleheads. They can be seen during the spring.

You can plant anytime the ground is not frozen, but spring or fall is ideal when rain is plentiful. When planted in the proper location, they are generally free of pests and disease. Slugs and snails tend to be the most common problems and crown rot can develop if drainage is poor.

Often found growing wild on woodland floors, ferns are an obvious choice for a shade garden. Fronds can be lacy or leathery, offering nice texture when used alone or when combined with the large leaves of hosta and hellebores, the colorful foliage of Heuchera or caladium, or the dainty blossoms of bleeding heart.

My daughter gave me Autumn Ferns for Mother’s Day last year. I had admired this plant growing in her garden. It has a copper tint to its foliage. Her plants drape beautifully across a retaining wall made from railroad ties. It softens the wall and is dramatic in color and texture. They also return year after year. Ferns have been with us over 300 million years and they are still a delight.

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THESE RECIPES ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY INGLES, STARTED IN 1963 BY ROBERT P. INGLE AND COMMITTED TO THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE.

FARM TO TABLE

n order to bring the freshest produce available to his customers Elmer Ingle used to visit local farmers in the early mornings, picking up only the best. Today, the store and the people look a little different but the produce doesn’t… everywhere you look the Ingles produce department has the freshest and the tastiest produce available, from local farmers just like Elmer and from around the world. Making sure you have the less traveled – best selection. We have an excellent variety of organic selections and a fresh produce prep area where we can core a pineapple, cut watermelon or put together the perfect combination of fresh vegetables for you, all with knowledgeable and friendly associates ready to help. Next time you visit your neighborhood Ingles, take a little more time to notice how much the tradition of the highest standards still remains with every fruit and vegetable.

INGLES….EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR LOCAL STORE.

16 FARRAGUT LIFE SPRING 2024

SPRING DEVILED EGG BAR

Ingredients

1 dozen large eggs, boiled

1/3 cup mayonaise

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

16 oz. cold water

2 tbsp. all-natural food coloring salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Peel and halve boiled eggs. Remove and transfer yolks to a medium mixing bowl. Add two drops of all-natural food coloring (color of your choice) to 16 oz. of cold water; gently add boiled eggs into the water. Let eggs sit in the water for about 5 minutes. Remove eggs and let them dry on a paper towel. While drying, create the filling by adding mayo, mustard, white wine, and salt and pepper to the yolks; mix until smooth. Use a pastry piping or sandwich bag to fill eggs and then refrigerate. Create a toppings bar by setting out your chosen toppings in small bowls.

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/spring-deviled-egg-bar

DEREK’S RICOTTA AND PESTO TOAST

Ingredients:

6 slices of your favorite bread

6 hard boiled eggs sliced

8 oz ricotta cheese

3 Oz pesto

3 roma tomatoes sliced

6 Fresh Basil Leaves

Optional:

Garnish with diced tri colored peppers

Directions:

Toast slices of bread in oven at 350ºF for 5 minutes or until browned. Mix together ricotta cheese and pesto in a small bowl until combined. Spread ricotta cheese mixture on toast. Add sliced roma tomatoes, basil leaves, hard boiled eggs, and tri colored pepeprs (optional) on top of the mixture.

This is an easy and fast recipe that anyone can throw together for an Easter morning, or a summer brunch with friends. A beautiful way to incorporate fresh, local ingredients from your local Ingles.

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/ derek-s-ricotta-and-pesto-toast

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SPRING PASTA SALAD

Ingredients:

8 oz. farfalle pasta

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1/2 cup peas

2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup asparagus

1/2 cup arugula

1/2 cup multi-colored peppers

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 handful fresh parsley

1 handful fresh basil

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. pepper

Directions:

Cook farfalle, following package directions, being careful not to overcook it. Rinse and drain pasta. Set aside. Slice the tomatoes and drizzle in a generous amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil so all the flavors can mingle together. In another pot, blanch asparagus. Cook until al dente. Drain asparagus, and set aside. In a large bowl combine arugula, artichoke hearts, peppers, peas, fresh parsley, marinated tomatoes, asparagus, and pasta. In a separate bowl, mix together white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour over pasta and enjoy!

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/spring-pasta-salad

HERB CUP APPETIZERS

30 mini phyllo shells

1/2 cup chive and onion cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped (more for garnish)

3 tbsp. fresh parsley chopped

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

2 small salad cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 large radishes, quartered and thinly sliced

6-10 grape tomatoes, halved salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Lightly toast phyllo shells according to directions on package. While phyllo shells are toasting, in a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, dill, parsley, and pepper. Stir until combined. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Spoon about 1 tsp. of the filling into each phyllo shell. Top with a slice of cucumber, a slice of radish, and a piece of tomato. Sprinkle with additional fresh dill if desired.

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/ herb-cup-appetizers

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TURKEY TOSTADAS

Ingredients:

16 oz. ground turkey, 93% lean

1 (1.25 oz.) Laura Lynn mild taco seasoning mix

2/3 cup water

4 oz. Laura Lynn diced green chiles, drained

16 oz. Laura Lynn traditional refried beans

1/4 cup Harvest Farms Organic medium salsa

8 oz. Laura Lynn 2% milk reduced fat finely shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 (12 oz.) package tostada shells shredded lettuce

Ingles guacamole

Ingles fresh pico de gallo

Aerisian romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and separated, optional

Directions:

Brown ground turkey over medium heat. Stir in diced green chilies, taco seasoning, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. In a microwave-safe bowl, stir together refried beans and salsa--microwave, covered, until warm. You can also do this step in a small pot on the stovetop. Warm tostada shells in a 325°F oven for 5-6 minutes. Build tostadas by spreading tostada shell with refried beans, and add taco meat, cheese, lettuce, guacamole, and pico de gallo. Cutting carbs? Skip the tostada shell and use romaine leaves instead.

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/turkey-tostadas

LEMON EASTER CAKE

Ingredients:

1 pre-baked loaf pound cake from the Ingles Bakery

2 (6 oz.) jars pre-prepared lemon curd (can substitute orange or key lime)

2 (16 oz.) pre-prepared containers cream cheese frosting fresh lemon, sliced for decoration (optional)

Directions:

With a sharp bread knife, cut the pound cake into 3 layers (horizontally). Pipe the edges of the bottom layer with icing and fill inside the icing border with 1/2 a jar of lemon curd. Repeat the process with the second layer. Place the top and final layer of the cake (cut side down) on the top. Ice the entire cake. Once the iced cake has firmed up, pipe a bead of icing around the edges of the top layer and fill with lemon curd. You can use any remaining frosting to decorate the bottom of the cake with rosettes for a prettier presentation. Decorate with slices of fresh lemon and enjoy!

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/ lemon-easter-cake

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INGLES FLORAL

Have you ever had one of those days when you know a friend needs a little good cheer, a relative needs a quick pick me up or perhaps someone in the office has a birthday… But, you still have errands to run, kids to pick up from school and grocery shopping to do. Now you don’t have to skip anything. Visit the Ingles Floral Department for all those “you deserve something special moments”

Ingles Floral is a convenient way to shop for beautiful cut stems or full bouquets. Choose from a variety of balloons and ribbons and even plants that will keep on saying “you’re the best” for a long time to come. And, all of our floral departments are stocked with only the freshest and most colorful varieties. Need a little help saying just the right thing with flowers? At Ingles you can ask our friendly and knowledgeable floral associates for a hand. Many of our floral employees have years of advanced floral experience. And, our selections may look exclusive but they are priced for value

So next time you want to lift the spirits of a friend or you just need a lift yourself, depend on the Ingles Floral department. It’s convenient, within any budget and I’m sure we’ll have just the thing.

ONLINE RECIPE SEARCH

FARRAGUT L

Our new website is the best place to keep up with articles and stories between issues so you never miss a beat of what’s going on in our community. No matter if you’re using a phone, tablet, or desktop, our new website is fully optimized to make reading our content as easy as possible

We also publish full versions of our print magazines online the same day they’re being delivered to homes!

See all the delicious recipes from current and past issues complete with step by step instructions and an integrated shopping list!

Need to Scale a Recipe?

No problem! Our online recipe system allows you to choose how many servings you want and it automatically adjusts the needed ingredients and shopping list!

www.farragutlif e c o m

INGLES….EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR LOCAL STORE.
20 FARRAGUT LIFE SPRING 2024

Wthe perfect CUSTOM MOTHERS DAY GIFT!

e have been serving this community since 1986, and we pride ourselves on creating the highest quality custom jewelry designs in the greater Knoxville area. We have been blessed to see our small business grow to manufacture, on average, 400 custom in-house designs per year. Using a variety of new and old techniques to accomplish the customers' goals, we are eager to help tailor our shop's abilities to each special moment.

Traditionally, a wax carver would create your item by hand, then it would be cast into gold. The customer would rarely be involved in viewing the item before the casting process. Today's newest technology allows us to rely on the much more accurate and efficient form of milling machines to carve the wax. We can take the same file we send to the milling machine and also 3D print

the prototype into a plastic model, which allows the customer to view the design before we move into the milling or casting processes. These new additional steps give our customers the ability to make changes, edit, and view photorealistic renders from the design software. While this is becoming a standard practice in our industry, we have been using these softwares, milling machines, and printers in our shop since 2004, giving us possibly one of the largest databases of pre-designed custom items in the area. Our archive is growing every day with new versions of projects, so we currently keep a database of images, prototypes, and photos of finished items in the showroom for new customers to discuss or see the level of work we do on a daily basis.

All jewelry is manufactured somewhere in this world, so why not here in Knoxville, and why not exclusively for you? The ability to look past our register, through the glass into our shop, and see your items being created

at our West Knoxville location is something we take much pride in. Without outsourcing the work or purchasing products that were not manufactured to our standards, we can assure our customer base that the priority of our entire team is the quality and workmanship we can provide. While there are many reputable manufacturers in our industry, we truly believe we are able to provide our customers with the same quality, materials, manufacturing, and workmanship that is available at any premier retail establishment in the world."

11320 KINGSTON PIKE • KNOXVILLE, TN 37934 • 865.777.3793
farragut 21 SPRING 2024 FARRAGUT LIFE

Vallie Collins

A LOCAL PASSENGER FROM THE MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON

Reflecting on those events, Vallie Collins said, “Everyone knows they’re going to die, but no one thinks they’ll die today.”

It was January 15, 2009, and Vallie sat by the gate at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, watching the clock. Her flight had been delayed because of weather but she was still hoping to be home in time to read her children bedtime stories. This flight would take her to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she would catch a connecting flight to her home in Maryville, Tennessee. After a night away, she was looking forward to returning to her husband and three children, ages nine, six, and four.

Finally, the passengers were told to board, and Vallie walked to her seat in the back of the plane where she found a blue baby blanket draped over her chair. Confused, she looked back into the galley where a mom was soothing her baby. Not wanting to disturb the mom, Vallie handed the blanket to the flight attendant.

Conveniently, Vallie was seated in the aisle next to the only empty seat on the plane. To pass the time, she made small talk with the

man one seat over at the window, but they didn’t have to wait long, at least by LaGuardia standards, before reaching the runway.

The plane began its vertical ascent, but less than two minutes after takeoff, there was a boom, just loud enough to be startling, followed by a thudding noise like a shoe in a clothes dryer. But perhaps more frightening than the noise was the silence that followed it. Vallie, who often flew for her job, immediately noticed that she could no longer hear the engine, nor could she feel the plane rising.

“What was that?” Vallie asked the man beside her who had been staring out the window.

“Birds,” he said. Smelling something burning, Vallie turned to her left. Out the opposite window, smoke streamed from the engine.

It reminded her of something a pilot had told her on a particularly turbulent flight, nearly ten years earlier: “Ma’am, don’t worry about turbulence. That’s just a customer service problem. All we worry about in the cockpit are birds and fire.”

Now suddenly, they had both.

This couldn’t be happening to her. Airplanes were supposed to be the safest form of travel. Turning to her seatmate, Vallie said, “I’ve got three kids to raise.”

The man calmly replied, “I have a daughter, and I’m going to see her tonight.” Vallie wanted to believe him but realized in horror that she didn’t.

She imagined her husband hearing about the crash on the news, tortured for hours because he wasn’t certain if that had been her flight and if she’d made it onboard, unsure if his wife was alive or dead. She grabbed her cell phone and sent a text: “My flight is crashing.”

Right then, just 90 seconds after the initial collision, the plane’s captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, made an announcement in the steadiest, most controlled voice Vallie had ever heard: “This is the captain. Brace for impact.”

Vallie closed her eyes to pray. She didn’t feel scared as much as sad, thinking of all she was going to miss. Who was going to plan her children’s birthday parties? She wasn’t

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going to get to be the Mother of the Bride when her daughter married. She wasn’t going to see her youngest son hit his first home run. If it was God’s will for her to die in this crash, she didn’t like it, but she accepted it. She knew where she was going. She thought of her grandfather waiting for her in Heaven.

Upfront, Captain Sully faced his difficult decision. Without enough time to turn back to LaGuardia, he told air traffic control, “We’re going to be in the Hudson.”

Three minutes, twenty seconds after the accident, Vallie’s seatmate put his hand on her leg and said, “Be ready. We’re going in the water.”

She thought of news reports she’d seen of airplanes hitting the water, cartwheeling, and shattering into debris. She told herself, if you’re conscious, just swim to the light.

Three-and-a-half minutes after being struck by birds, the plane made contact with the Hudson River. The tail of the plane hit first, slowing it down enough to stop it from shattering. It was a miracle, a perfect landing.

Vallie’s first thought was that the landing wasn’t nearly as bad as she was expecting. Her next thought was, how do I get off this plane? For three-and-a-half minutes, her life had been in the captain’s hands. Now, she had a bit of control as to whether she lived or died.

In utter panic, she told her seatmate to open the window for them to climb out before remembering that airplane windows don’t open. Vallie shot up toward the rear galley where the flight attendant was trying to open the door. Vallie struggled to help, but due to the water pressure outside, the door wouldn’t budge. Suddenly, 35-degree water began to fill the cabin. It nipped at her ankles, so intensely cold it felt like needles.

The flight attendant looked at Vallie and said, “You have two minutes. Go to the wings.” Vallie did as she was told, but a crowd was now pressing through the aisle toward the back galley, blocking the way as the water kept rising. Within seconds, it had reached her chest, and she’d never felt so cold in her life. This was the most terrifying moment of the experience.

Lord, please don’t let me drown, she prayed, and suddenly she felt at peace. She raised her hands and shouted to the crowd blocking her way, “Go to the wings! Go to the wings!” It was like walking uphill as she made her way to the exits by the wings. She grabbed a seat cushion drifting beside her to use as a float. All around her, people cried and screamed. Others climbed over seats trying to reach the exits. One person even tried to grab his suitcase from the overhead compartment.

“Go to the wings!” Vallie said. “Go to the wings!”

The lights had gone off when they hit the water,

so the plane was dark but as she fought forward, she finally saw daylight pouring in from the open doors by the wings. We’re going to make it, she told herself, stay calm; God is good.

Vallie was one of the last passengers out. She exited onto the right side of the plane and stood on the back of the wing. Beside her, the plane’s inflatable slide had deployed and passengers were using it as a makeshift life raft.

“Throw the baby!” yelled someone on the raft. Vallie looked to her side and saw the mother whose blanket had been on her seat, clutching her young baby with a four-yearold girl beside her.

“Throw your baby!” another person yelled from the raft, his arms outstretched. The raft was already packed tightly, and it would have been difficult for the mother to maneuver off the slippery wet wing and onto the raft while balancing the baby.

In the distance, ferry boats were approaching the crash.

“Hand me your baby,” Vallie told the mom. Reluctantly, the mother handed over the young boy and Vallie passed him to someone more secure on the raft. Vallie climbed into the raft beside him then looked up at the mom and said, “Give me your girl.” The mother handed her the daughter, and Vallie held her tightly as the mother joined them on the raft.

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We’re going to be okay,” Vallie told the little girl, rubbing her head to comfort her. “Somebody’s going to come get us.” The girl chewed on Vallie’s arm through her sweater while holding the blue baby blanket, the same one that had been draped over Vallie’s seat.

After 10 minutes, the ferries finally arrived, deploying what looked like a rubber climbing wall to help the passengers climb to the deck, fifteen feet above their heads. One-by-one they made their way up, several struggling. Vallie climbed halfway with the little girl still in her arms. She lifted her over her head into the waiting arms of one of the ferry workers before climbing the rest of the way.

Once she was aboard the ferry, Vallie remembered she’d texted her husband when their flight was crashing, so the first thing she did was ask one of the men to borrow his cell phone—as her own phone was with her purse at the bottom of the Hudson River. She called her husband: “Honey, it’s me. I’m okay.”

All he said was: “Call your mother.”

Vallie called her mom who had heard about the crash on the news and was hysterical. When she finally calmed down, she told Vallie, “I knew you’d be okay.”

To the side, Vallie saw the mother from the flight that she’d helped along with her husband and two children, all safely together on the ferry. As they sailed back to shore, Vallie shivered, trying to get warm. She took off her drenched sweater, and the ferry captain approached her, taking his own shirt off his back and handing it to her.

“How am I going to get this back to you?” Vallie asked, not knowing what else to say. “Don’t worry about it. It’s from Walmart.”

Even with the dry shirt, she was profoundly cold. At that moment, if she’d been offered a million dollars or a pair of warm socks, she’d have taken the socks.

Vallie was processed at the Weehawken ferry terminal in New Jersey where she was given a full set of dry clothes—including the tube socks she’d so wanted, which a volunteer bought for the passengers.

She would later recall, “The outpouring of people that came to help and assist in a relatively short fashion was unbelievable.”

Miraculously, all 155 passengers had survived.

After two hours, she was taken to the Hoboken University Medical Center. One of the port authority officers was waiting for her with her original clothes, now dried. He sat beside her and said, “I was in 9/11. I’m going to tell you: This is going to stay with you a long time.” At the time, she didn’t understand what he meant. At the time.

Meanwhile, her husband called his cousin who lived in that area. The port authority officer escorted Vallie to the cousin’s house where she would spend the night. The next day, her husband travelled up to New Jersey to drive her back home to Maryville.

Vallie would later explain five key things she learned from her experience. The first is the importance of kindness. Be kind to everyone, because you don’t know who will be the last person you interact with. She explained, “In the days after, I thought, would the bus driver that took me from the rental car office to the terminal, would he have thought of me as a kind person? Did I smile at the gate agent that scanned my ticket? Was I as friendly as I could possibly be to my seatmate?”

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Second, Vallie learned the value of empathy for the emotional battles and PTSD that others may deal with that isn’t visible on the surface. Third is the importance of being physically fit, because you never know when you’ll be in a position where you have to save your own life or someone else’s. Fourth is the value of the perspective—once you’ve experienced a situation where you thought you were going to die, everything

else seems smaller and more manageable.

Finally, she learned the importance of time, maximizing, using, and giving the time you have left. Everyone knows they’re going to die, but no one thinks they’ll die today. The interesting thing about being so close to death is that each day after is a gift—to be lived to the fullest, to serve others and glorify God.

Vallie still lives in Maryville and is thankful she was able to see her children grow up.

Left to Right: Luke, Addison, Cade, Vallie and Steve Collins.

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This Easter, we invite you to break free from the lie that God’s love must be earned This experience will shatter the shackles that keep you believing lies about how God sees you! When it comes to your value, Jesus gets the last word, and it’s never tied to our actions – it’s tied to His love. Prepare for an event filled with excitement where you, your friends and family find new beginnings. Step out of the tomb of earning favor and into a celebration of true freedom! Whether you’re exploring spiritual ideas for the first time or looking for deeper truths, this event will point you to Jesus’ victory on Easter Sunday – a victory that brings us freedom

Your story with God is unique to you – telling people how your faith has changed you. It’s like shining a light for others to see their way in the dark. You can help someone feel less alone and more hopeful. Easter, when we celebrate new beginnings, is the perfect time to do this! It shows everyone that through Jesus, change is possible and a better life is within our reach. By sharing, you invite others on a journey of hope and renewal. Let’s use this Easter to spread the good news together.

fpKIDS offers an exclusive experience created with kids in mind! From 6 weeks old through fifth grade, we have a place for your child this Easter!

Parents – your kids will enjoy an exciting adventure through a day in the life of Jesus! They can learn so much from the example He set We can’t wait to see your family!

faithpromise.org CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR TIMES AND LOCATIONS
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Andy Burleson: Fashion as an Artform

In January of 2021, our editor, Lisa Bingham, lost a friend and past neighbor from covid —Robert Burleson, from Sweetwater, whose beautiful photography we were proud to feature in our magazines. Lisa always promised we would write a story about his son Andy’s incredible career in the fashion industry, and today we’re fulfilling that promise. We hope our article does them both justice.

Young Andy Burleson, just five years old, his face mere inches from the TV screen, watched Michael Jackson sing, “Just beat it, beat it! No one wants to be defeated!” But

it wasn’t the music that enchanted him, nor the dancing—it was Jackson’s red leather jacket, covered in zippers, metal mesh shielding either shoulder. Never had he seen anything so… cool.

Fashion has gripped Andy all his life. For him it is a form of self-expression, an artistic medium, but most of all, it’s really, really cool. After going to college for graphic design, Andy founded his own clothing brand called Artifact Public before putting it aside to work as a designer for the global athletic wear company FILA, for which he’s created dozens of clothing lines.

“I feel blessed to be able to use creativity as a form of work,” Andy says. He explains that he tries to tell stories with his designs, to communicate a mood or a feeling. And clearly his designs resonate with people because he’s had some products sell out in a single day.

Andy lives and breathes fashion. “I still dress like a 25-years-old,” he says. “I don’t have a pair of dress shoes; I have a suit, but I wear tennis shoes with it. But I love it because I’ve always just been into fashion.” He even owns a version of Michael Jackson’s red jacket that so captivated him as a kid.

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of design. Before people know anything about a product, before they read about it or look at the price, they’ve already made a judgement based on how it looks.

AS ANDY EXPLAINS: “YOU USE YOUR EYES BEFORE YOU USE ANYTHING ELSE.”

Andy loves to include small details in his designs. In one particular graphic that he designed for FILA’s yacht line, he points out a row of abstract symbols at the bottom and explains that these spell FILA in signal flags. It’s the kind of detail most people wouldn’t notice but that, for him, separates good design from great design.

When asked his favorite design, Andy pauses to consider. He explains that he doesn’t have a favorite because he always feels he could have done something better.

“To me, if art is really a passion to you, then it’s a continued journey, so everything I do gains knowledge for the very next thing that I’ll do,” Andy says. “My favorite work of art I’ll ever do will be my last because it will be a sum of everything I have done up to that point, all of the knowledge, all of the wisdom, all the things people have taught me, everything that I can put into it. I won’t have a favorite until then.”

Andy also talked about how grateful he was for the love and support of his wife Chasity and their children, Mace and Taylor, who always inspire him to be better than he was the day before.

These shoes, designed for FILA and Sprite sold out in one day!

Robert with his son Andy at his Arsenal Athletic store in the Asheville Mall!
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Andy was raised in Sweetwater and graduated from Sweetwater High School. He currently lives in Asheville with his wife and 2 children.

BUTCHER SHOP Taste the Difference

No Steroids

No Hormones

ALL NATURAL

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Fall 2024

The bridge over Bald River Falls, one of the most beautiful spots in Tellico Plains, is being replaced due to safety concerns. The 90-year-old old bridge has been demolished and the new one is expected to be complete by autumn of this year. The new bridge will have an observation deck which will allow pedestrians to view and photograph the falls from safety. According to the Forest Service, "The project will improve structural stability, pedestrian safety, and create enhanced recreation experiences." The bridge is being built by Adam's Contracting from Lexington, Kentucky.

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90 YEAR OLD BRIDGE OVER BALD RIVER FALLS IS BEING REPLACED
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Drone photo of the old bridge by Brandon Johnson. Construction Photos by Tellico Cabins TellicoCabinsTN.com
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Rob Preston Nothing Is Impossible!

Base Camp—Rob Preston stands 17,515 feet above Sea Level, where the air is smotheringly thin, waiting for the start of the marathon He is at the Mount Everest base camp, a veritable city of yellow tents at the foot of the mountain where climbers stay before making the dangerous trek to the summit, but Preston isn’t here to climb the mountain. Rather, he’s here to run a marathon on it, and the base camp is the starting line

Rob Preston is a marathon runner, although perhaps that’s putting it too mildly. This Director of the Athens, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce has run marathons in all fifty states and all seven continents—including Antarctica. He once ran an entire race with a torn meniscus and another time with a poison ivy rash. Once he took a wrong turn, ran an entire extra mile, yet still won first place. But perhaps his grandest accomplishment is running a full 26.2-mile marathon on Mount Everest.

The Starting Line—After a breakfast of porridge, toast, and eggs, Preston and the other racers gather by the starting line marked by two Sherpas holding a long piece of tape. Preston arrived over a week ago at Lukla, Nepal, at what is known as the most dangerous airport in the world due to the extreme elevation and short runway. It’s taken him and

the other racers days of hiking just to reach the starting line, but perhaps this was a good thing because it’s given him time to adjust to the thinner air. Surrounded by the majesty of the Himalayas, he prepares to run

As soon as the race starts, the local Nepalese runners sprint across the rocky, uneven landscape as if it were perfectly flat. Everyone else maneuvers more carefully, as they are used to flatter terrain. After the first few miles, the two hundred runners begin to spread out, as they follow the red flags that mark the path

Preston began running marathons in 1997 when a friend invited him to the New York City Marathon. Since then, he has run 116 marathons of which he won 60. For training, he often runs over 60 miles per week, usually at night or in the very early morning

Mile Seven—Preston likes to think about the marathon in “portions.” Instead of imagining the goal 19 miles off, he’s just thinking about getting to mile ten. After that, he’ll just be thinking about getting to the half-way point Finally, when he gets near the end, he’ll be taking it one mile at a time. Preston checks his pace on his smartwatch as the wind whips past him. In the distance, the peak of Everest reaches, seemingly forever, into the sky.

7 CON T INENT S

Preston has seen incredible things during his mission to run a marathon in every state and on every continent. His race in Italy started at the Roman Colosseum and took him past St. Peter’s Square and the Pantheon. He has run upon the red earth of the Australian Outback, beside the Pacific waters lapping at the shore of Chile, and across a bridge near Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. He won a marathon on the white continent of Antarctica, running past glaciers and penguins while wearing shorts.

Mile Nineteen Preston’s legs burn as he races up a winding set of “Everest steps” and into a maze of trees. He has run countless marathons but never one so high or so cold. When he emerges from the trees, he sees a beautiful monastery in the background. The scenery would be breathtaking if he had any breath left to take

There’s a cutoff point coming up. Those who didn’t reach before a certain time would have to finish the race the next day.

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ARMED MEN, TERRORISM, THE SCARIEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD

THOUSANDS OF GIRLS CHEERING • BLACK BEARS, SKUNKS • SNAKES

DOGS • BIG AND SMALL • ELEPHANTS AND LIONS • POISON IVY

• ASTHMA • EXTREME WEATHER • ANGEL IN JAPAN

POOP TUBES

Fortunately, Preston has made it with plenty of time. Unfortunately, what comes next might be the most difficult part of the race—an extreme decline of what feels like 45 degrees followed by an extreme incline that seems just as steep. But Preston isn’t giving up.

To many people, running seems like a chore— something necessary to stay healthy yet far from enjoyable—but not to Rob Preston.

“I love running,” Preston said. “I think about this morning. I got up at 2:45 a.m. This morning was just beautiful… The stars were out. I can just kind of get alone with my thoughts and think about just the blessings that I have… It’s a great time to get alone… and focus on how blessed I am.”

Preston loves running, but even more than that, he loves God. In his book, Preston wrote, “I have accomplished a lot with my running, and I am proud of what I’ve done. However, it really means nothing if I do not honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and recognize that all of this was made possible because of Him. Through all my travels, I have seen an incredible beauty that God has created.”

The Finish Line—After a 26.2-mile race through the frigid cold, Preston finally reaches the finish line. While he hasn’t won, just finishing may be his proudest accomplishment because of the incredible difficulty. It’s by far the hardest race he’s ever run, a fitting capstone to a journey that has taken him all around the world.

Order Robert Preston’s book on Amazon: “Running Marathons in 50 States and 7 Continents: A Runner’s Inspirational Adventure Around the World”

Or pick up one at the Athens Chamber office.

Kingston Pike Jiffy Lube Named Best in the Region!

The Jiffy Lube on Kingston Pike has been named the best Jiffy Lube in the region, and they have the trophy to prove it. It’s a well-deserved award because their customer service is unparalleled.

The award is based on customer service, speed of service, and customer satisfaction, all areas where the Kingston Pike Jiffy Lube excels. As Matt, who has been the manager for 20 years, explained, “You’ve got to keep the customers happy, and you’ve got to be quick about what you do.”

Friendly and smiling throughout our interview, Matt added, “We love the customers. Customers are always coming in smiling and happy, and it’s great to see them leave and tell us, ‘Bye. Thank you, and we appreciate what you did.’ It’s a good feeling, and really the customers keep our spirits up.”

11012

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BEFORE IT FADES

A clay skull sat on the shelf, its jaw filled with what appeared to be real human teeth. To the left lay a full-size sculpture of a woman in a casket. Welcome to the home of legendary Blues artist Son Thomas.

In 1992, photojournalist Bill Steber—passionate about music, especially the Blues—was visiting Mississippi for an article and couldn’t pass up this opportunity to visit the home of one of his heroes. Son Thomas’s son, Pat, led Bill to the bedroom where Son Thomas sat on his bed smoking a cigarette, just returned from the hospital where he was receiving treatment for a brain tumor.

“As far as my creative life, that was the day everything changed,” Bill said. “Everything about him—his music, his being, his philosophy, his art—it was just such prime source material for the human condition and more authenticity than I had ever experienced in my entire life.” Bill knew he had to come back for a longer visit. Unfortunately, he would never get the opportunity. Just a few months later, Son Thomas passed away.

It made Bill wonder “who and what else was there that is in imminent danger of disappearing,” he explained. “It became kind of a primary obsession of mine to seek out as many of the people or cultural traditions that created the Blues in Mississippi that I could find, and that started what is now a 30+ year life journey.” Thus began his photographic chronicle of Mississippi Blues history.

Matt Hollingsworth

BILL STEBER PHOTOGRAPHY

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BILL STEBER

Preservation and fading have been themes of Bill’s art and life. He grew up in the Nashville area during a period when iconic restaurants or stores that had been around for years were closing, seemingly a different one every day. He was very close to his grandmother, and he grew up surrounded by stories and photos of the past, steeped in tradition. Even before he started his photographic chronicle of the Blues, he was interviewing his older family members, trying to capture all their stories and memories of a way of life that no longer exists.

“You can’t go back,” he said. “That’s the thing that has always been a primary motivating factor when I’m like ‘Do I really want to drive eight hours to go to this event?’ Yes, because if you don’t—that’s it. It’ll go unrecorded… It may or may not be valuable in the future, but if you don’t get it in real time, that’s it. It’s like it never happened.”

For more than 30 years, he has photographed “Blues musicians, juke joints, churches, river baptisms, hoodoo practitioners, traditional farming methods, folk traditions and other significant traditions that gave birth to or influenced the Blues.” He travels with an exhibit called "Stones in My Pathway" which has often been on display in museums.

He takes the pictures because he must. He takes them so that the music and traditions and people of the South won’t fade and be lost. To complement this theme, he often uses old photographic methods such as tintype which was common in the 1800s. Such pictures must be developed on the spot as they’re taken using potentially toxic chemicals. But you can’t deny the results. The aged quality of the photographs is a perfect complement to their subject matter.

Fading is something we all understand. Our bodies, our memories, even our very minds grow weaker as we age. Buildings crumble, nations fall.

Preservation is an instinct we all understand, to hold the past close, to not let anything be lost, and to cherish tintype photographs of our traditions.

SteberPhoto.com Bill@SteberPhoto.com 615-896-7282

Discover a difference maker

Ansley McConkey

Sometimes, a single moment can change the course of your life. When Ansley McConkey was a freshman in high school, her doctor discovered that her intestines were twisted, causing a blockage and extreme weight loss. She was sent to East Tennessee Children's Hospital to have surgery to untwist her intestines. The surgery was successful but after years of dealing with stomach issues, Ansley was afraid to eat after her surgery. Her nurse, Tinsley, was incredibly encouraging to Ansley during this time and helped her feel comfortable eating again.

“During my stay, Tinsley made me realize how caring and tentative East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is,” Ansley said.

After Ansley returned home, she reflected on her time at Children’s Hospital and how inspired she was by the staff’s kindness to her and her father. Not only was this a transformative experience for her health but it also inspired her to pursue a career in pediatric health care. Ansley was no stranger to taking care of others, being one of the main caregivers to her siblings,

alongside her father. She asked her pediatrician if he’d write her a letter of recommendation in the future to work at Children’s Hospital. He agreed if she continued to walk the good path.

Upon graduation, Ansley reached out to her pediatrician to see if he would still write her a letter of recommendation. Although he was retired, he happily wrote her the letter and was proud of the woman she had become after many hardships during childhood. "It’s humbling being that little girl and not knowing if you're going to be somebody one day,” said Ansley. Despite all the challenges Ansley faced, her determination to make a difference just like her childhood doctor and nurse supported her to reach her goal.

Today, she is a successful EEG tech at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital living out her dream. “Walking in under the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital sign and getting to love on these kids is very humbling. Being here makes me feel like I’m fulfilling my childhood by healing other children.”

Nominated by a Children’s Hospital patient’s parents, Ansley recently won the SUNFLOWER Award, which recognizes a deserving patient care assistant, technician or transporter who use their clinical skills and compassion to ensure patients get the best care possible.

Her story is just beginning. She plans to become a registered EEG technician and volunteer at the hospital in her free time to give back to those who gave to her as a child. Ansley is a true testament to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s core values, compassion, ownership, respect and excellence.

Children’s Hospital is proud to have dedicated employees, like Ansley, who are helping take care of our future, one child at a time. Thanks to the hospital’s hard-working employees and the generosity of the community, Children’s Hospital can continue to help children in East Tennessee and beyond.

You can make a difference in the lives of children, too. To make a donation, visit ETCH .com/donate
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Walking in under the East Tennessee Children's Hospital sign and getting to love on these kids is very humbling. Being here makes me feel like I'm fulfilling my childhood by healing other children.
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THE WILD WEST COMES SOUTH

The soft light of the campfire casts flickering shadows on the old covered wagon. A family of pioneers—a mother, father, and two kids— sit warming their hands. Their journey has been long and hard, and who knows what waits for them in the harsh wilderness ahead— whether arid deserts, dangerous outlaws, or… a luxury campground by the Ocoee River?

Step back in time with Welcome Valley Village—a rustic slice of the Wild West here in the South. It features six beautiful cabins and three glamping wagons on a 17-acre gated property, surrounded by lush forests, winding trails, and over 900 feet of private riverfront on the world-famous Ocoee River. (And don’t worry, unlike the covered wagon used by the pioneers, these are air-conditioned.)

Not only are the cabins full of charm and comfort, but guests of The Village also have access to beautifully landscaped common areas. Directly over the river is a large riverside dock, riverside pavilion, and small bathhouse with toilets. The dock and riverside pavilion are both very popular with guests, as they offer a serene open-air environment, tucked away in the forest, where guests can relax, drop-in tubes, swim, fish, etc.

Enjoy roasting marshmallows over a campfire, sleeping under the stars, and waking up to a stunning sunrise… but with electricity, a bathroom, and plush bedding. There is room for up to four guests per wagon.

Even better, you’re right beside the Ocoee River and the Great Smoky Mountains! Come enjoy the beauty of nature or ride the racing rapids of the Ocoee.

welcomevalleyvillage.com

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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

When David Bright, owner of Brights Zoo in Limestone, TN, saw his zoo’s newborn giraffe, his first reaction was shock—because this unique giraffe didn’t have spots. Immediately, he began calling friends in the zoo world to ask if anyone had seen anything like this before.

When they learned that no one had ever heard of a giraffe without spots, they began doing in-depth research and eventually learned that only three other such giraffes have ever been observed, the most recent having been born in 1972 at a zoo in Japan. This rare and beautiful animal may be the only currently living giraffe in the world without spots.

The zoo let people vote on Facebook to determine the calf’s name. The winner, after nearly 40,000 votes, was Kipekee which means “unique” in Swahili. The name was selected over Firyali, meaning “unusual” or “extraordinary;” Shakiri, meaning “she is most beautiful;” and Jamella, meaning, “one of great beauty.” Kipekee was chosen with 36% of the vote because it’s easiest for a child to say.

When asked what Kipekee is like, David Bright described her as “very laidback, curious about everything, checking everything out every day.” If you want to see this one-of-a-kind animal, their website gives the best times of the day for viewing her.

Bright is passionate about conservation, and his zoo raises money to protect species like giraffes. He encourages people to donate to the organization Save Giraffes Now.

Brights Zoo is a private, family-owned facility. Other animals living there include some rare and endangered species such as addax, bongo and scimitar-horned oryx, and Bactrian camels. The center also contains more common but exotic creatures like red kangaroos, spider monkeys, pandas, and zebras.

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(423) 257-1927 3425 HWY 11 E, LIMESTONE, TN 37681, USA BRIGHTSZOO.COM 48 FARRAGUT LIFE SPRING 2024

Michael Watson

An East Tennessean in the New York Art World

Chains, seashells, parts from an old copy machine, debris from a car accident—none of these are materials we typically associate with beauty, but master artist Michael Watson has turned them into breathtaking works of art, delighting to turn common, discarded materials into work on display in museums. He is an East Tennessean who has broken into the exclusive world of New York art.

Michael was born and raised in Knoxville where he attended Bearden High School. His father was also an artist—realistic and traditional, not abstract—and Michael grew up looking at his dad’s watercolor art. Michael excelled at this type of art, but as he grew older, he wanted to continue challenging himself, and he began to be drawn to unusual shapes and materials—rice, thread, sawdust, anything.

Michael described his unique approach to art, saying, “A lot of people, when they’re making art, they mainly think about what it’s going to look like. For me, part of the experience of making art is making it, is.... how the materials themselves inform the meaning of the work, which is why my work is primarily abstract.”

He continued, “I think what started to become the least interesting part of making art was that I always could predict how it would turn out. Part of me was actually creating obstacles in the

making of my work to challenge me to work in different ways.” The reason he seeks out unusual items is not only to find material that speaks to him, but also to challenge himself by working with something he’s never used before.

He explained, “I have all this thread that someone gave me, for instance. How can I use this thread to create a texture and color in my work and speak to something… Or I might have a bunch of sawdust left over from cutting wood, and I’ll ask how I can incorporate this into my paintings…

So, I’m always thinking about how to think outside the box but also about how these materials challenge me.”

Today, Michael lives in New York, but he’s been nice enough to set aside time for a phone interview with me. He directs me to a piece entitled “Ukraine,” a beautiful blue canvas punctured through with circular holes, a chain draped through them.

This was painted on the back of a map of Ukraine, Michael says. Each of the holes is a major city that’s been hit.

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Another piece, entitled “Burial at Sea” was made to honor his recently-passed grandfather who loved the ocean. The work incorporates seashells his grandfather gave him. It also prominently features a wrench because his grandfather loved to build things. It is a fitting memorial.

He shows me another series bluntly titled “Death Paintings” which includes a piece partially made from disposable surgical masks and clay shapes too small for me to discern. I lean toward my screen, trying to tell what they are when Michael says, “They’re tongues.”

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He explains that these pieces were inspired by the pandemic saying, “The whole idea was, living in New York during that time, statistically we were getting hit so hard that it was disorienting, the numbers that we were hearing every single day, constant news of death… It seemed out of control… There were stories of funeral homes in New York or morgues in New York that couldn’t house all the bodies, so they just put them in U-Haul vans on the street.” There were church communities that lost over a hundred member

He tried to capture all the fear we felt during that uncertain time, which is why he

included the clay tongues. In a time where we were already divided by politics and losing connections with people around us, suddenly we are told to further isolate, told that other people’s breath and mouths can kill you, Michael explains. In a time when Americans already feared each other politically, feared what others would say about our ideas, suddenly we were afraid of their very mouths themselves.

I try to imagine going through the pandemic in the tightly-packed apartment buildings of New York instead of the wider, more open suburbs of East Tennessee. I can see how it could give rise to work this dark.

As for political division, that’s something we all understand too well, and it’s something Michael wants to fix. He explains that he loves talking to people who disagree with him, and how, as someone who has lived in both the North and the South, Southerners are constantly surprised when he tells them how kind and generous Northerners are and Northerners are surprised when he says the same of Southerners.

He says, “There’s a humanity there that I think politics drowns out, and rather than trying to change people’s politics, I want people to recognize their humanity and commonality.”

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The store is a mosaic of miniature universes, each shop has its own little world full of gifts, fashion, home décor, and art. There are unique and beautiful pieces around every nook of Southern Market, and you could look for hours without having seen it all.

Originally from Sequoyah Hills, Susan Worthington moved to Farragut in 1993 She and her mother, Frances Sexton, founded Southern Market more than 27 years ago as an upscale interiors market that showcased local vendors of the highest quality—200 miniature shops in one building, each with its own unique style, yet all coming together to form a unified whole. It’s a great place to wander around and discover interesting and original gifts for friends and family

Most of all, Susan Worthington explains, Southern Market is a blank canvas for local creatives. Her goal was to provide local artisans and merchants a high-end venue from which to sell their items and express their creativity.

Many have been with her upwards of 20 years, forming their own ever-expanding family.

Susan also cares about providing space to creative entrepreneurs young and old, because her interest in art and local consignment also began early, with her selling handmade barrettes in school. Susan leases space in Southern Market to talented individuals who are ready to sell their wares

FREE GIFT WRAPPING!
Over 200 Merchants + Makers OUTDOOR MARKET ANNUAL SPRING OUTDOOR MARKET MARCH FOOD TRUCKS LIVE MUSIC details on social media Facebook: e Southern Market @Southernmarketshops 865.588.0274 SHOP INSIDE DAILY MON - SAT 10 - 6 5400 HOMBERG DRIVE KNOXVILLE, TN 37919 865 588 0274 SOUTHERNMARKETSHOPS.COM th 30 55 SPRING 2024 FARRAGUT LIFE

There’s a lot happening at Cherokee Outdoor Resort (formerly Sequoyah Landing) in Vonore. Not only did they open a new restaurant in July—called the Mudpuppy—but they are also working on expanding into a massive resort that will hopefully bring lots of tourists to the area.

One unique thing about the new restaurant— open Wednesday through Sunday—is that you can pull up to it on your boat, parking at the dock. It is open air during the summer so you can feel the breeze off Tellico Lake. The restaurant is named after a type of aquatic salamander native to the eastern United States, including Tellico Lake.

In addition to the restaurant, the site currently features a full-service marina and 7 cabins on the banks of the lake. The resort is planning to add a massive RV park, new cabins, glamping units, expansions to the marina, a water park, an indoor family entertainment center, and a Wibit feature, which is an inflatable-like structure extending over the lake for people to play on. When everything is complete, they plan to have almost 300 units.

The resort is controlled by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Harp Development is doing the work. According to Harp Development, the resort will pay tribute to the Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Outdoor Resort

110 Sequoyah Resort Way, Vonore, TN (423)-884-2770

A nearby stretch of 76 acres is the subject of a long running legal battle. The land in question is of cultural significance to the Cherokees whose capital city, Tanasi, once stood here. The land is controlled by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, but it is still owned by the TVA.

There have been bills proposed in Congress to return ownership of 76 acres to the Eastern Band, but while these have passed through the House of Representatives with near unanimous support, they have been blocked in the Senate.

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THE MUDPUPPY IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS NOW.

Sunday and Wednesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Monday-Tuesday: Closed

The Mudpuppy

102 Sequoyah Resort Drive, Vonore, TN (423) 884-2770

Facebook.com/themudpuppyrestaurant

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20 Years of Helping Our Fallen Officers Families

In 2004, Loudon County officer Jason Scott was shot in the line-of-duty. West Knox County Officer John Edgar was one of the first officers on the scene. After seeing Scott’s family and the families of other fallen officers, Edgar knew he had to help.

For years, Edgar participated in the Police Unity Tour which raises money for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund However, he wanted to do more, so in 2018, he began working for Concerns of Police Survivors which serves the families of officers killed in the line-of-duty. Here he learned that the families often have to wait a long time for government benefits to arrive

That year, a local officer passed away, and Edgar had the idea to make a commemorative

T-shirt for him and give the proceeds to the family. That could help them in the critical time between the officer’s death and the arrival of government benefits. That’s how Edgar started his charity, Blue Line Tennessee

Last year, they sold 3,500 shirts honoring fallen officer Tucker Blakely from Knox County, raising $45,000 for his wife. They also made shirts honoring Officer Michael Russ, Shannon Lang, Sr., and others. Order these shirts from their website. Additionally, they raise money for officers and their families through GoFundMe David’s Abbey Carpet & Floors is the largest sponsor of Blue Line Tennessee, purchasing billboards for them.

When asked how many shirts they sell per year, Edgar said, “I hope we don’t sell any because

that means we didn’t lose any officers.” John also explained that the East Tennessee community was very supportive of the police saying, “There’s not a better place to be a police officer.”

If you are an officer in need, or if you are a family member of a fallen officer, contact Blue Line Tennessee for help. “We help anyone who asks,” Edgar said

bluelinetennessee.com

(865) 755-5315

In 2023, 378 police officers were shot in the line of duty, setting a terrifying new record, up 14% from 2022, and a 60% increase since 2018 This includes 21 officers in Tennessee, fourth highest of any state in the union Forty-six of 378 officers died, according to the National Fraternal Order of Police

Officer John Edgar, David Haynes of David's Abbey Carpet and Officer Laura Moore. David would like to challenge other businesses to support Blue Line. Each year David Haynes places billboards to honor Blue Line
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We Offer Five Business Courses Guaranteed To Energize Any
This Is One Of Them.

To the casual observer, this photo may appear to be just a beautiful golf course. But if you’re planning a business meeting or event and considering a hotel to host it, Fairfield Glade Resort with our five championship golf courses is a far more exciting course of action. Just bring a mission statement and an agenda. We’ll supply everything else. Including some of Tennessee’s best golf to stimulate and excite your attendees. So says Golf Digest, Golfweek and Golf Magazine.

And if you’re on a collision course with boredom at work, we offer numerous highly enjoyable ways to reverse course, in addition to golf. Miles of trails for hiking. Pristine lakes for boating and fishing. A world class Racquet Center. And an equestrian facility for horseback riding and hayrides of course.

I-40 from Knoxville is an easy course to Fairfield Glade. We’re less than 70 miles away. Stay & Play Golf Packages available. Whether it’s business or pleasure. Here It’s pleasure. Of course.

Now the fun begins.

For information or reservations, call 888-334-5233

www.fairfieldgladeresort.com

Located between Knoxville and Nashville, just a few miles from I-40 (Exit 322)

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Workforce.
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STEP INTO SPRING

Knoxville’s iconic Dogwood Trails are open annually from April 1-30th, just in time to showcase the beauty of spring in East Tennessee!

Farragut Dogwood Trail

Trailhead: 12251 S. Fox Den Drive, 37934 | est. 2001

Follow the pink lines beginning at the entrance to the Fox Den community to experience the beauty of the Farragut Dogwood Trail. The trail wanders thru three distinct neighborhoods covering almost eight miles of impeccably maintained properties.

2024 SPRING EVENTS

APRIL 6 | CHALK WALK MARKET SQUARE

APRIL 20-21 | FEATURED GARDENS VARIOUS LOCATIONS

MAY 11, 2024 | KNOXVILLE, TN
SO U THERNSKI E SF E S T. C O M 61 SPRING 2024 FARRAGUT LIFE
CURATED BY THE DIRTY GUV’NAHS A DOGWOOD ARTS EVENT

For A Full List Of Events In East Tennessee Go To:

www.farragutlife.com

Spring

FARRAGUT HAPPENINGS

April 13th

7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

11433 Kingston Pike Farragut, TN 37934

The 14th annual Forget Me Not 5K is a fun family event that raises money for Alzheimer’s Research through The Pat Summitt Clinic at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

ForgetMeNot5K.com

BOB WATT FISHING RODEO

May 11th 9 a.m.

11730 Turkey Creek Road Farragut, TN 37934

For more than 30 years, Anchor Park has hosted the Bob Watt Youth Fishing Rodeo, a popular spring event. Kids fish and compete for prizes in a number of categories. Two sessions will be held this year. Stay tuned for more details.

VisitFarragut.org/events

KNOXVILLE

20TH ANNUAL COVENANT HEALTH KNOXVILLE MARATHON

April 7th

7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

World’s Fair Park

963 Worlds Fair Park Drive Knoxville, TN 37916

The 20th Annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon weekend includes a kid’s run, a 5k, a half-marathon, a full marathon, and a relay event. The expo/packet pickup is Saturday April 6, followed by the Kid’s run and 5k.

KnoxvilleMarathon.com

ROSSINI FESTIVAL

April 20th through 21st 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Downtown Knoxville

The Rossini Festival is Knoxville Opera’s annual International Street Fair that celebrates the global impact on the music, food, art, and culture of East Tennessee. Throughout the festival, the public is treated to non-stop entertainment on four outdoor stages showcasing opera, classical, jazz, gospel, ethnic music, ballet, modern, and ethnic dance. Attendees can purchase from scores of food vendors and more than 75 artisans throughout the day, while The Y FunZone keeps children entertained. More than half a million residents of Knox County and the surrounding area have enjoyed the Rossini Festival over the years. Fun and family-oriented. Admission is always free.

KnoxvilleOpera.org/rossini-festival

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DOGWOOD ARTS FESTIVAL

April 26th through 28th

Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

World’s Fair Park

963 Worlds Fair Park Drive Knoxville, TN 37916

Established in 1961, the Dogwood Arts Festival is one of the most celebrated cultural events in Knoxville! The festival is held on the beautifully redesigned Performance Lawn at World’s Fair Park and features over 100 fine art vendors, live music, entertainment, children’s activities, food & beverage vendors, and more.

DogwoodArts.com/dogwoodartsfestival

SOUTHERN SKIES MUSIC & WHISKEY FESTIVAL

May 11th

11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

World’s Fair Park

963 Worlds Fair Park Drive Knoxville, TN 37916

Curated by hometown favorites, the Dirty Guv’nahs, this is an authentically Knoxville celebration of music and community.

SouthernSkiesMusicFestival.com

CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL OF READING

May 18th

World’s Fair Park

963 Worlds Fair Park Drive Knoxville, TN 37916

Enjoy reading, music, and fun with storytellers, musicians, authors, and illustrators.

KnoxCountyLibrary.org

PIGEON FORGE

Various Dates

Various Locations

All throughout spring, Pigeon Forge Rod Runs is scheduled to host all kinds of car shows—from Chevys to Ford Mustangs to Broncos.

PigeonForgeRodRuns.com

I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU MUSIC FESTIVAL

March 9th through April 14th

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge

Dollywood.com

CROSSVILLE

TENNESSEE SENIOR MEN’S OPEN

June 9th through 11th 7:30 a.m.

Stonehenge Golf Course at Fairfield Glade

Tennessee Senior Open start June 9th with the practice round. June 10th and 11th are tournament days. The tournament will be crowned around 5:30 on Tuesday evening.

FairfieldGladeResort.com

TENNESSEE WOMEN’S OPEN

July 24th through 27th 7:30 a.m.

Stonehenge Golf Course at Fairfield Glade

The Women’s open is open to the whole country and all the world. We have 12-15 states represented in the field. It features around 90 players.

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