As temperatures drop, concern grows over home fire safety in Tennessee

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As temperatures drop, concern grows over home fire safety in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 24, 2020 – According to the state of Tennessee fire records in 2020, there have been 81 fire fatalities across the state. That is the same number as the total fire fatalities from 2019. Numbers are increasing throughout the nation, with 1,797 home fire deaths reported from Jan. 1, 2020 to Nov. 23, 2020. The overall fire fatalities in 2019 numbered 2,131. This has fire officials, and American Red Cross disaster volunteers and staff concerned.


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In fiscal year 2020, the Tennessee Region American Red Cross responded to 1,803 home fires across the state. In the first four months of fiscal year 2021, the organization has already responded to 503 home fires. Red Cross officials credit the uptick in more people staying home during the pandemic. “We want to ensure everyone in our community stays safe from these crises,” said Joel Sullivan, regional executive with the Red Cross in Tennessee. “Sadly, home fires will take an average of seven lives every day in the United States. This is an alarming statistic and one which we must counter by becoming even more vigilant in our home fire safety measures.”

“We ask everyone to check their smoke alarms monthly and practice their home fire escape plan at least twice a year,” said Christopher Robins, Regional Disaster Officer for the Tennessee Region. “In fact, fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home.”  

Here are other suggestions from the American Red Cross:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. 
  • If you smoke alarms are not working, change the batteries immediately, or replace them altogether.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

You can visit for a home fire escape plan and other free resources, and to learn how you can help families in need by volunteering or making a donation to support our lifesaving services. Together, we can Sound the Alarm about home fire safety and save lives.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Smoky Mountain luxury resort joins elite hospitality group Relais & Châteaux

The Swag, a luxury all-inclusive resort nestled amid the Smoky Mountains in Waynesville, North Carolina, is joining Relais & Châteaux, a directory of elite, independently owned hotels and restaurants around the world, including notable destinations like Blackberry Farm, Old Edwards Inn and Spa, and Planters Inn.

“Relais & Châteaux represents the best in hospitality,” said Annie Colquitt, a native Knoxvillian who owns The Swag with her husband, David Colquitt. “We are beyond grateful to be listed among truly outstanding properties that we love.”

The secluded mountain resort joins 580 of the world’s finest properties. The Paris-based association has members in 64 countries across five continents.

Beyond excellence in hospitality and cuisine, Relais & Châteaux selects properties that exemplify its core values: local focus, humanity, sharing and commitment.

“Relais & Châteaux includes some of the world’s most beautiful properties in the most unique locations,” Annie Colquitt said. “We are proud to share the Southern Appalachian culture and the beauty and tranquility of the Smoky Mountains with the rest of the world.”

The Relais & Châteaux website includes a directory of its properties, along with itineraries, experiences, events and special offers.

“My wife Annie and I always look for Relais & Châteaux properties when planning our adventures,” Colquitt said. “Our favorite places in the world are in this association, and it is an honor for The Swag to be joining this amazing group.”

About The Swag

The Swag offers luxurious accommodations, allowing guests a peaceful environment where they can rest, relax and rejuvenate. Located on a secluded mountaintop just outside Waynesville, North Carolina, the inn is an ideal destination for romantic getaways, weddings, corporate retreats and much more. The 2.5-mile private drive leading to the inn climbs more than 1,000 feet. For more information, visit

About Relais & Chateaux

Relais & Chateaux, established in 1954, is an association of 580 unique hotels and restaurants throughout the world, owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs – most often families – who are passionate about their craft and deeply committed to forging warm, lasting relationships with their guests.

Established on five continents, from the Napa Valley vineyards to Provence to the beaches of the Indian Ocean, Relais & Chateaux invites people across the globe to savor delicious journeys, to discover the inimitable art de vivre engrained in each local culture and to share an incomparable, unforgettable experience.

Relais & Chateaux members protect and promote the wealth and diversity of the world’s culinary and hospitality traditions, to ensure they continue to thrive. They are equally dedicated to preserving local heritage and the environment, as articulated in the association’s Vision presented to UNESCO in November 2014.

Spectrum awards $25,000 Spectrum Digital Education Grant for Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – November 19, 2020 – Spectrum awarded the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee a $25,000 Spectrum Digital Education Grant for the Digital Connect Program, as part of the company’s multiyear, $6 million cash and in-kind national commitment to digital education in Spectrum communities across the country. The company doubled its original 2020 commitment to digital education, awarding a total of $1 million to 47 organizations providing broadband education, technology and training.

Representatives from Spectrum joined Lt. Gov. and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally and Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens to present the $25,000 check to the Boys & Girls Clubs in ceremonies.  The grant funding will facilitate the Boys & Girls Clubs Digital Connect Program in four locations across the state including:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Loudon County, Lenoir City 
  • Boys & Girls Club, Morristown
  • Boys & Girls Club of Maury County, Columbia
  • Boys & Girls Club, Jackson  

“We thank the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee for being instrumental in helping us provide support for digital education in Tennessee,” said Rahman Khan, Vice President of Community Impact for Charter Communications, Inc., which operates the Spectrum brand of TV, Internet, Voice and Mobile products. “Through the Boys & Girls Clubs we can continue to provide those in need with the resources to navigate the challenges of the digital age.”

“I sincerely thank Spectrum for their investment in our Digital Connect Program,” said T. Ryan Hughes, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee.  “This grant allows us to purchase new technology and equipment that support virtual learning and academics for more than 150 youth. The program will also engage family members that need access to work on resumes, apply for jobs, or gain job skills and who may not have access to a computer outside one of our Clubs.”

With this year’s grants, Spectrum has surpassed its multiyear commitment to award $6 million in cash and in-kind donations to support broadband education across the company’s 41-state service area. This year’s recipients are from 15 states and Washington, D.C., and were chosen from 259 eligible applications. Recipients include nonprofits working to empower disadvantaged residents in towns and cities, boost small businesses in rural areas, provide computer assistance to senior citizens, and organizations that meet educational needs for children — including those experiencing homelessness and remote learning challenges. Since its inception in 2017 through July 2020, Spectrum Digital Education has benefitted more than 41,000 individuals in 17 states and Washington, D.C.

Spectrum Digital Education is one of several philanthropic programs developed by Charter to support the communities in which Charter provides service and where its employees both live and work.  Additionally, Spectrum Housing Assist, launched in 2015 to make homes safer and healthier, has surpassed its goal of of improving 50,000 homes by the end of 2020. Charter’s Spectrum Employee Community Grants program, launched in 2019 to support employees’ volunteer activities at local social and human services organizations, has already impacted more than 175 critical services organizations across 25 states.

This year, Charter announced the launch of the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund, which will invest $10 million in capital by the end of 2021, making loans up to $1 million to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the company’s footprint. In June, Charter announced additional investment partnerships with the National Urban League and National Action Network to support Black and other minority-owned small businesses. The addition of those partnerships increased Charter’s Loan Fund commitment to $13 million.

Finally, this spring, Charter introduced Spectrum Scholars, a two-year educational program for eligible rising juniors in financial need, that will award a total of $400,000 in scholarship aid, provide company mentors for students, as well as connecting them with potential internship opportunities at Charter.

About Spectrum

Spectrum is a suite of advanced communications services offered by Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 30 million customers in 41 states. Over an advanced communications network, the company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice.

For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The company also distributes award-winning news coverage, sports and high-quality original programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks and Spectrum Originals. More information about Charter can be found at

About Boys & Girls Clubs

The Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee is a statewide nonprofit organization that serves over 57,800 youth annually at 102 Club locations. Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Oak Ridge launches demolition project at Former Biology Complex

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – EM crews on Nov. 16 began taking down the remaining facilities located in the former Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge.

Those vacant, deteriorated buildings are categorized as high risk due to their structural condition, and their removal will provide land for national security missions at the site.

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and its cleanup contractor, UCOR, are starting by demolishing the three-story 65,000-square-foot Building 9210. Once that work is completed early next year, crews will begin tearing down the six-story 255,000-square-foot Building 9207.

a construction site: EM crews begin knocking down the three-story 65,000-square-foot Building 9210 at Oak Ridge on Nov. 16.

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EM crews begin knocking down the three-story 65,000-square-foot Building 9210 at Oak Ridge on Nov. 16.

“After completing the Department of Energy’s largest environmental cleanup project to date at the East Tennessee Technology Park, we are shifting our focus to the next phase of cleanup in Oak Ridge,” OREM Manager Jay Mullis said.

That next phase of cleanup involves addressing hundreds of excess, contaminated, and deteriorating facilities scattered throughout Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory that present hazards and occupy land that can be used for future research and national security missions. Removal of the Biology Complex will be the most significant skyline change at Oak Ridge to date, and it will be the first of many projects to clear away former Manhattan Project and Cold War buildings.

“Our program brings an incredible impact by eliminating hazards, enabling modernization, and creating opportunities by clearing away old facilities for the Department of Energy to construct new infrastructure to meet the needs of this nation,” Mullis said.

Preparing the Biology Complex buildings for demolition was a major undertaking and required workers in full protective suits to remove asbestos material found in areas such as pipe insulation and wall panels.

“I’m extremely proud of our team for this accomplishment,” UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter said. “Our UCOR workforce is highly trained to remove the kinds of hazards that were in this building, which made it possible for us to conduct this work safely and efficiently.”

Rueter noted that UCOR implemented special workforce development programs, such as its East Tennessee Apprenticeship Readiness Program and asbestos removal training geared to apprentices using a mock-up of a worksite.

“Those programs ensured our workforce had the skills necessary to achieve this next major cleanup milestone even as we continue to manage the impacts of the pandemic,” Rueter said. “It’s also important to note that this focus as well as our strong partnerships with Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) and the National Nuclear Security Administration allowed us to start the Biology Complex demolition within a month of celebrating Vision 2020.”

CNS is the Y-12 management and operations contractor.

Originally constructed for recovering uranium from process streams in the 1940s, the Biology Complex was later used for research that led to strides in understanding genetics and the effects of radiation. When operational, the facilities once housed more individuals with doctorates than anywhere in the world.

The Biology Complex previously consisted of 11 buildings. OREM demolished four of the structures in 2010 and removed another two structures in 2018. All remaining Biology Complex structures are scheduled for removal by 2021.

Nominations for the 2021 Orchids Awards are now being accepted

Keep Knoxville Beautiful is now accepting nominations from the public for its beautification awards, the Orchids. Since 1979, Keep Knoxville Beautiful has presented Orchid Awards to Knoxville and Knox County buildings and outdoor spaces that beautify and elevate the local landscape.

Orchid Awards will be granted in the following seven categories:

  • New Architecture
  • Redesign/Reuse
  • Outdoor Space (Parks, Patios, Rooftop Areas, Public Gardens, etc.)
  • Community Space (Neighborhoods, Schools, Senior Living Facilities, Apartment Complexes, etc.)
  • Public Art (Murals, Sculptures, Signage, etc.)
  • Environmental Stewardship (Properties that incorporate renewable materials, energy efficiency, LEED certification and/or other sustainable building practices)
  • Creative Reinvention (properties that have creatively adjusted to social distancing guidelines)

Anyone can nominate a location or outdoor public artwork by completing a simple online form on Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s website, Private residences are not considered for this award. Properties that received an Orchid Award since 2011 are ineligible, except in cases of major renovations. For a list of previous winners, visit the Keep Knoxville Beautiful website. Nominations are due by Wednesday, December 23, 2020.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful will announce the winners of the beautification awards at the annual Orchids Awards to be held virtually in February 2021.

For more information, contact Keep Knoxville Beautiful at [email protected].

About Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Founded in 1978 to help “clean up” prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, Keep Knoxville Beautiful is a local non-profit with a mission to inspire and empower Knox County communities to improve their quality of life through beautification and environmental stewardship. We pursue this by:

  • Educating students and the public about waste-prevention, litter, recycling, and environmental stewardship
  • Facilitating and supporting litter pickups that make our roads and local waterways cleaner
  • Creating and protecting murals and hosting beautification mobs to make Knoxville a more beautiful and interesting place to live and visit

During 2019-20, we

  • Facilitated or supported 238 litter pickups
  • Collected 36,282 pounds of litter
  • Managed 7 beautification projects
  • Reached 1,317 kids with our presentations
  • Used our recycling trailer and recycling bins to provide recycling for 10 events
  • Worked with 2,073 volunteers

To learn more about Keep Knoxville Beautiful, visit

Phenix Salon Suites signs 15-unit deal with successful multi-business owner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Phenix Salon Suites, the leading boutique salon suite franchise, announced a 15-unit development deal with multi-business owner Doug Cox.

Operating under the business entity Providence Salon Group, Cox is expanding the brand’s presence across Tennessee and Kentucky, with specific growth plans for the Nashville, Knoxville and Lexington regions. The group’s first coworking complex for salon and wellness professionals is expected to open in Hendersonville by early 2021.

“Having grown many businesses over the years, Phenix Salon Suites stuck out as an extremely attractive concept to invest in,” said Doug Cox, who is leading Providence Salon Group alongside president and COO Spencer Harp. “As talented, independent beauty professionals seek alternative salon settings, individual suite concepts are primed for long-term success. The design is optimal as it allows me to build relationships with my tenants and give them a safe, intimate and socially-distanced space to work. I’m thrilled to lead the brand’s southern growth with support from a robust, innovative corporate team.”

Cox, a Nashville resident for more than 25 years, has successfully developed and currently operates five businesses across four states. His portfolio ranges from ventures such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and consulting firms. As he diversifies with Phenix Salon Suites, he looks forward to creating opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs, while creating a real estate legacy for his family and employees.

“We’re excited to have a seasoned businessman like Doug on board with Phenix Salon Suites as we expand our reach into Tennessee and Kentucky,” said Brian Kelley, president of Phenix Salon Suites. “The suite-based model has proven to be beneficial as it offers lifestyle professionals the safety and security of their own individual space allowing them to continue servicing their clients on a one-on-one basis. Phenix Salon Suites is a sustainable investment for those looking to expand their portfolio with a business model designed specifically to meet today’s challenges surrounding social distancing in the multi-billion-dollar health, wellness and beauty industry. I’m confident that Doug’s strong ownership background will pair well with our model and that he will play an essential role in establishing a strong local brand presence.”

Phenix Salon Suites was one of the first boutique salon suite concepts to offer luxury, spacious suites for independent salon and lifestyle professionals to rent on a month-to-month basis and become their own boss. The suites are equipped with upscale amenities including a styling chair, shampoo chair, two cabinets, a hair dryer and a shampoo bowl that hooks onto the sink. The salon essentials are designed to suffice professional’s basic needs while providing them the opportunity to customize their suites.

The brand has its sights set on expanding both nationally and internationally with experienced multi-unit franchise operators in Houston, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Boston, Upstate New York and New York City. Phenix Salon Suites also has room to grow in Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northern California.

While no salon experience is necessary, the most successful franchisees have working knowledge of commercial real estate, general business experience and are well-capitalized with the ability to invest $300,000 or more. Financing is available through our lending partners.

To learn more about Phenix Salon Suites and its franchise opportunities, visit 

About Phenix Salon Suites

The California-based salon suite franchise is a coworking concept that offers an opportunity for salon and lifestyle professionals to have their own salon suite within a larger, well-located salon. Founded in 2007 by Gina Rivera, whose family has been in the salon industry since 1929 and as a stylist herself, she had a desire to support the goals of lifestyle professionals across the country. Phenix Salon Suites began franchising in 2012 and today has 285 salons in 33 states. Recognized 7 years in a row on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, Phenix Salon Suites is acknowledged as an industry leader with franchise opportunities available in a number of key markets throughout the United States. For more information on franchising with Phenix Salon Suites please visit

Demolition project begins at Y-12 National Security Complex, clearing land for national security missions

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Crews began efforts to tear down the remaining facilities located in the Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex. These vacant, deteriorated buildings are categorized as high-risk due to their structural condition, and their removal will provide land for national security missions at the site.

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s (OREM) contractor UCOR is starting by demolishing the three-story 65,000-square-foot Building 9210. Once that work is completed early next year, crews will begin tearing down the six-story 255,000-square-foot Building 9207.

“After completing the Department of Energy’s largest environmental cleanup project to date at the East Tennessee Technology Park, we are shifting our focus to the next phase of cleanup in Oak Ridge,” OREM Manager Jay Mullis said.

That next phase of cleanup involves addressing hundreds of excess, contaminated, and deteriorating facilities scattered throughout the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory that present hazards and occupy land that can be used for future research and national security missions. The removal of the Biology Complex will be the most significant skyline change to date, and it will be the first of many more projects to clear away former Manhattan Project and Cold War-era buildings.

Mullis said, “Our program brings an incredible impact by eliminating hazards, enabling modernization, and creating opportunities by clearing away old facilities for the Department of Energy to construct new infrastructure to meet the needs of this nation.”

Due to the era when the Biology Complex was constructed, it contained large amounts of asbestos. Preparing the buildings for demolition was a major undertaking and required workers in full protective suits to remove the asbestos material found in areas such as pipe insulation and wall panels.

Originally constructed for recovering uranium from process streams in the 1940s, the Biology Complex was later used for research that led to strides in understanding genetics and the effects of radiation. When operational, the facilities once housed more individuals with doctorates than anywhere in the world.

The Biology Complex previously consisted of 11 buildings. OREM demolished four of the structures in 2010 and removed another two structures in 2018. All remaining Biology Complex structures will be removed by 2021.

FirstBank opens new Knoxville headquarters, financial center

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 16, 2020) – FirstBank has officially opened its new Knoxville headquarters office building. The 17,000-square-foot facility, located at 5537 Kingston Pike, includes a full-service financial center, which is relocating from the nearby Landmark Center.

More than 50 FirstBank associates, including members of the Knoxville market leadership team, will relocate to the two-story headquarters in phases, which will be in accordance with the City of Knoxville’s and Knox County’s reopening guidelines. FirstBank will continue to use its space at the Landmark Center at 1111 N. Northshore Drive for offices.

a building with a clock on the side of a road: FirstBank has officially opened its new Knoxville headquarters office building. The 17,000-square-foot facility, located at 5537 Kingston Pike, includes a full-service financial center, which is relocating from the nearby Landmark Center.

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FirstBank has officially opened its new Knoxville headquarters office building. The 17,000-square-foot facility, located at 5537 Kingston Pike, includes a full-service financial center, which is relocating from the nearby Landmark Center.

“Our new headquarters will increase our visibility in the area, and it also represents our continued growth in the Knoxville region and will provide us with another space to help our customers build a better future,” Knoxville Market President Brent Ball said. “We are excited to make the move official and get our team settled.”

Construction on the new headquarters building, which was undertaken by Knoxville-based RTC Construction, took approximately 12 months to complete. FirstBank owns the property and building and will be the only occupant.

A public grand opening celebration is planned for early 2021.

About FirstBank

Nashville-based FirstBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of FB Financial Corporation (NYSE: FBK), is the third largest Tennessee-headquartered bank, with 87 full-service bank branches across Tennessee, South Central Kentucky, North Alabama and North Georgia, and a national mortgage business with offices across the Southeast. The bank serves five of the major metropolitan markets in Tennessee and, with approximately $11.0 billion in total assets, has the resources to provide a comprehensive variety of financial services and products.

Juvenile Court Judge swears-in court appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children 

KNOXVILLE, TN | November 20, 2020 – Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Irwin will swear in ten (10) newly trained volunteers of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of East Tennessee at 8:30 a.m. on November 20th, 2020 at Knox County Juvenile Court. 

 CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and are unified by their desire to make a difference in the lives of some of our community’s most vulnerable children. Each volunteer works one-on-one with an abused or neglected child, advocating for his or her best interests. Oftentimes, an advocate is the only consistent person in a child’s life. 

CASA of East Tennessee is inviting applicants for the next advocate training class to begin in January 2021. CASA provides instruction to volunteers through a comprehensive 33-hour training program. To become a CASA volunteer, one does not need a specific education or background, just a heart for children and a willingness to advocate for their needs and best interests.  

 CASA of East Tennessee, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Knoxville, TN. Founded in 1986, CASA’s mission is to improve the lives of abused and neglected children through trained volunteers who advocate for a safe, permanent, loving home. For more information about how you can become a CASA volunteer in Knox County, call 865-329-3388 or visit 

EyeCare Optical extends its coverage of the greater Knoxville area with new locations in Oak Ridge and Hardin Valley

KNOXVILLE (November 16, 2020)—Earlier this year, EyeCare Optical expanded its reach in the greater Knoxville area by opening its seventh area office—this one in Oak Ridge—right on the heels of its sixth location opening in Hardin Valley. It’s part of a plan, says the company, to make comprehensive eye care readily available for greater Knoxville residents in their own neighborhoods.

The brainchild of the venerable 50-plus-year-old East Tennessee Ophthalmology practice of Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun, EyeCare Optical is a new generation of vision centers designed for the convenience of East Tennesseans. The goal, says the company, is to meet the growing demand for neighborhood-based eye care by bringing Board-Certified optometrists and licensed opticians to all key communities in Knoxville and the surrounding area.

“With these new offices, we can now service about 70{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} of the area with patients not having to drive any more than 10 minutes to reach an EyeCare Optical location,” said Dr. Philip Campbell. “With EyeCare Optical, we combine convenience with the exceptional care we built our practice upon.”

EyeCare Optical provides everything from routine eye examinations and prescriptions to an extensive selection of designer frames and lens options as well as popular sunglass options. Optometrists provide corrective-lens prescriptions and contact lens fittings. Plus, patients can receive next-level care that includes screenings for cataracts and other age-related eye conditions.

Patients can also be evaluated for LASIK® vision correction at any EyeCare Optical office, and Ophthalmologists specializing in retina, cornea, and other diseases are available with their parent practice. Because of the affiliation with Drs. Campbell, Cunningham, Taylor & Haun, an EyeCare Optical optometrist can easily refer a patient needing a higher level of care to Board-Certified Ophthalmologists.

“It’s convenient, comprehensive eye care,” said Dr. Campbell. “That has great appeal to many people.”

He noted that EyeCare Optical offices also offer innovations like Optomap, diagnostic technology that can photograph the patient’s retina, allowing eye doctors a detailed image that can be studied to identify problems or diseases early on. With Optomap, the patient doesn’t have to have the dilation of his or her eyes needed for traditional retina exams, eliminating disruptions, discomfort, and downtime. The doctor and patient can review and discuss the image together, which gives the patient more information on personal eye health.

“We put new technology and new levels of care minutes away,” said Dr. Campbell.

EyeCare Optical has 10 Optometrists and their locations include West Knoxville at Weisgarber Road (near the county’s population center) Fountain City, Hardin Valley, Farragut, Oak Ridge, Maryville, Sevierville, and Bearden (Andes EyeCare Optical) locations.

New patients are welcome. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, visit Walk-in patients are also welcome at all locations.

South College launches Doctor of Ministry program

South College is launching a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program, and enrollment is open for qualified students to join the first class, which begins Jan. 20, 2021.

The program is delivered in a fully online format and can be completed in as few as three years.

“We are delighted to expand our doctorate portfolio by offering the Doctor of Ministry program through our online platform,” said South College Chancellor Steve South. “The variety of opportunities for ministry leaders is diverse, and we offer a climate to foster development across multiple groups from worship leaders to youth pastors. This program fits within our mission of preparing individuals for or to advance in careers.”

The program is designed for individuals already involved in ministry who want to move to the next level of leadership. It is offered in an accelerated format and includes a Master of Arts in Ministry Studies. The format makes it more affordable and achievable for students. The program is headed by Professor and Director of Ministry Programs for South College, Dr. Robert R. Redman Jr.

“South College has always been a good neighbor,” Redman said. “We want to give back to communities where our ministry members live by developing DMin students to be reflective practitioners and then help them become effective leaders and mentors to those they serve. The flexible online format reflects the need of a sector. Now is the best time to offer innovative, stable and sustainable solutions.”

For more information South College, including the DMin program, visit

About South College

South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels, as well as certificates. Questions about the accreditation of South College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

For more information, visit

Funderburk Electrical Services acquired by ICS Holdings

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (November 12, 2020) — FourBridges Capital announced today the acquisition of Knoxville-based Funderburk Electrical Services (FES) by ICS Holdings (ICS). FourBridges initiated the transaction and negotiated the terms on behalf of Funderburk.

ICS, a portfolio company of Stone Arch Capital of Minneapolis, owns and operates a group of leading electrical maintenance, repair, installation, and construction services businesses in a broad range of process industries. Other companies operating on the ICS platform include Electrical and Instrumentation Unlimited, LLC of Lafayette, La., and South Ark Electric in Hope, Ark.

FES was founded in 2009 by electrical industry veteran and CEO Jack Funderburk. The company has grown to over 170 employees and is licensed to operate in seven states, primarily servicing industrial and commercial clients; its Ace Electric subsidiary services residential customers.

“From the first conversation with Stone Arch and ICS Holdings, we knew we were on the right track,” Funderburk said. “There was a shared vision for the future of our companies, which I appreciated. But most importantly, it was clear that Stone Arch and ICS understood how my wife and I felt about our employees; we knew they’d be taken care of. FourBridges, in conjunction with Randy Smith of Burkhart & Company, led the way for me to make the right financial choices for my family and our company. I could not have had better partners.”

FourBridges, in conjunction with Burkhart & Company, led the way for me to make the right financial choices for my family and our company. I could not have had better partners.”

As part of the transaction, COO Earl Norman will continue to lead FES, reporting to ICS CEO Steve Lyon. Jack Funderburk will retain an equity interest in the ICS platform.

“One of the most rewarding parts of our job is finding a buyer who is truly a perfect fit for the seller we’re representing,” said Andy Stockett, managing director at FourBridges. “After conducting a broad marketing process, it was clear FES and ICS/Stone Arch were aligned on everything — from corporate philosophy to culture to growth goals. We really enjoyed watching the chemistry evolve between the two companies.”

“We are thrilled to have Funderburk Electrical Services join the ICS team,” Lyon said. “Jack built a tremendous organization, and we’re excited to have Earl Norman and his talented management team join us in building one of the country’s leading providers of electrical and instrumentation services.”

The FourBridges team of Andy Stockett, Chris Rowe and Clay Stockett acted as exclusive M&A advisors to Funderburk, Randy Smith of Burkhart & Company provided financial advisory and transaction services, and Mike Rubinger and Seth Webster of Nelson Mullins acted as legal counsel.

About FourBridges Capital Advisors

FourBridges represents business owners who are thinking about selling their company, making an acquisition, or refinancing. The partners run a proven process to identify quality buyers, achieve the best value, and close a deal fast.

Walters State, Dollywood announce extraordinary apprenticeship program for students

Officials from Walters State Community College, The Dollywood Company and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development today announced an apprentice partnership that will offer both classroom work and paid on-the-job training. An agreement was officially signed at the college’s Sevier County Campus.

Those who complete the program will have skills needed for in-demand jobs in the area, including hotel associate, food service manager and cook. Each apprenticeship is a three-year program, and includes a job at Dollywood. Apprentices will be paid for time spent on the job and these positions will be full-time, which includes a full benefit package.

When the program is completed, graduates will have several industry certifications, a completed apprenticeship certificate and college credit that can be applied to a technical certificate or an associate’s degree in hospitality management or culinary arts. Graduates from the program also will earn a leadership position in their area of study within The Dollywood Company.

“We at Walters State are excited to be involved with The Dollywood Company through this innovative program. This will give individuals valuable work experience at one of the country’s top tourism destinations while also gaining the classroom education needed to rise in their careers,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State.

“Many of our students enter the workforce with part-time jobs at The Dollywood Company while still a student and many have gone to have successful careers there. We think we’ll add to that number in the coming years with this program.”

“The partnership between The Dollywood Company and Walters State is a great example of employers and colleges coming together to make sure the workforce has the skills needed to perform a job successfully and the supporting education needed for long-term career success,” Tyra Copas, state apprenticeship director for the Tennessee Department of Labor, said.

Copas explained that registered apprenticeships like this one help individuals, employers and communities. Individuals can gain experience, classroom instruction and a nationally recognized credential without the need to go in debt and employers are able to develop and train their workforce with the specific skills needed, she said. For communities, Copas said that apprenticeships change the economic trajectory of households while supporting local employers.

“Due to the variety of properties and positions that comprise our company, Dollywood is a great place for advancement and career longevity,” said Tim Berry, Dollywood vice president of human resources. “We know students who enter this apprentice program at Walters State will have experiences and opportunities that will prepare them well to work in this exciting industry. We are even more excited to be able to provide a full-time position for them to be part of our award-winning team of hosts.” 

Walters State has apprenticeship programs with 12 companies. If you are interested in learning more about how a program could benefit your company, contact Dr. Anita Ricker, assistant dean of workforce development, at [email protected].

 If you would like to apply for apprenticeship positions at Dollywood, contact Renee Grover at (865) 428-9414.

Clayton Homes strengthens commitment to off-site built housing quality and customer experience with establishment of HouseSmart Construction™

SPARTA, Tenn., Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Clayton Homes, the retail division of Clayton off-site built homes, announces its new HouseSmart Construction™ company. During a time when affordable homeownership has had increasing demand, HouseSmart Construction was formed in response to the general increase of off-site built home purchases and the need to address the complexities of the steps of site construction completed during the off-site home building process. HouseSmart Construction aims to improve the quality and accountability of Clayton Built® homes and the Clayton customer experience by integrating the delivery, installation and site construction steps more seamlessly into the home buying journey.

Led by Chuck Morgan, recently named Vice President of HouseSmart Construction, the new company initiative kicks off with the acquisition of RCB Trucking of Sparta, TN. The RCB team will be welcomed to the Clayton Homes family as new team members, and they will benefit from a consistent flow of future home projects, new equipment and improved team member experience.

“We’ve heard the need for a better solution from many of our retail partners as they seek to overcome challenges of keeping up with the growing demands and complexities of site construction in our manufactured housing industry,” said VP of HouseSmart Construction Chuck Morgan.  “Clayton Homes plans to grow its HouseSmart Construction footprint nationally in the coming years.” 

The company will be a new service option for Clayton Homes stores and valued independent retail partners to provide for their home buyers.  HouseSmart Construction is not intended to replace the relationships home centers have with local contractors, but rather to improve services, skilled labor and capacity in markets where demand is highest.

“We believe this expansion of our retail division is a necessity for our team to better elevate and support our industry while delivering on promises to our customers,” said Danny Warrick, Clayton Homes Retail President. “It will serve as a platform to partner with home centers, contractors and Clayton home building facilities to improve off-site built home construction quality together. Ultimately HouseSmart Construction will help us serve our company purpose, which is opening doors to a better life.”

In 2019, Clayton Homes launched its Welcome Home program as a final step of home inspection and celebration for home buyers as they receive the keys to their new homes. The goal of the Welcome Home moment is to deliver every Clayton home buyer a 100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} defect-free home.

As off-site built housing trends move toward more homes with permanent foundations, garages, porches and landscaping, the need for better, quality site prep services has never been higher. . HouseSmart Construction services will especially help provide value to the manufactured housing industry as it continues to expand upon its new category of off-site built housing called CrossMod™ Homes, which represents a blending of off-site construction efficiencies and features that are similar to those typically found in traditional site-built homes.

To view Clayton homes and to learn more about the off-site home building process visit:

About Clayton

Founded in 1956, Clayton is committed to opening doors to a better life and building happyness® through homeownership. As a diverse builder committed to quality and durability, Clayton offers traditional site-built homes and off-site built housing – including modular homes, manufactured homes, CrossMod™ homes, tiny homes, college dormitories, military barracks and apartments. All Clayton Built® homes are proudly designed, engineered and assembled in America. In 2019, Clayton built 51,964 homes across the country. Clayton is a Berkshire Hathaway company. For more information, visit

*CrossMod™ is a trademark of the Manufactured Housing Institute. 

Willy’s Butcher Shop to give 3,000 pounds of turkey to COVID-affected families this Saturday

Knoxville, TN – William Carithers, master butcher and proprietor of Willy’s Butcher Shop in Bearden announced today that “Willy’s Great American Turkey Giveaway” will begin this Saturday, November 14 at 9:00 a.m. outside the store at 5115 Homberg Drive.

In what has become a short tradition for the store during the pandemic, 200-250 Grade A 10-14lb. turkeys will be given away to families who continue to be affected by COVID in some way, whether job loss, reduction in hours, furloughs, or other hardships. The turkeys will be handed out starting east of the store, so that traffic may continue onto Homberg or spill into adjacent parking lots. The turkeys will be handed to a person inside the car, with no need to exit the vehicle. As with the chicken giveaway earlier in the year, the turkeys will be handed out on the honor system, with no questions asked. Willy’s does hope to feed at least 200 families for Thanksgiving through this effort, so the shop encourages honesty.

For those who aren’t in need, Willy’s is offering spring-fed, organic, free-range whole turkeys and Berkshire hams for Thanksgiving inside the store. Masks are required.

100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} of Pellissippi State’s spring 2020 Nursing graduates pass licensing exam 

For the first time, 100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} of Pellissippi State Community College’s graduating Nursing students have passed their national licensing exam on their first attempt. 

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing released the results of the NCLEX-RN exam last week. All 70 of Pellissippi State’s spring 2020 Nursing graduates passed the exam, which each nurse in the United States and Canada must pass to become a registered nurse. 

“This is the first time a graduating class has achieved 100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} pass rate since the inception of our Nursing program in 2011,” said Dean of Nursing Angela Lunsford, noting the College achieved a 99{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} pass rate in 2019. “I am very proud of our faculty, staff and students. They worked through a very demanding curriculum, put in 540 clinical hours during their program and graduated during a global pandemic.” 

Lunsford also stressed the difficulty of the NCLEX-RN, which tests a Nursing graduate’s ability to think critically, use clinical judgement and perform in a safe and ethical manner when caring for patients. 

“The exam is a computer-adaptive test, so questions get harder or easier depending on how the candidate performs,” she explained. “Students are given situations and must use the knowledge acquired in the program to select the best response. These are not yes-or-no questions.” 

Another aspect of the exam that makes it challenging is that the test can be as few as 65 questions or as many as 245 because the test continues until the computer decides the candidate is safe or not safe, Lunsford added. 

“The candidate can finish in 45 minutes or they may be there for up to four hours, depending on how they perform,” she said. “When the computer cuts off, the candidate has no idea if they have passed. They have to wait 24 to 48 hours for the results.” 

The national pass rate for those associate degree graduates taking the exam for the first time is 84{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f}, according to NCLEX statistics. 

“Our faculty and staff work closely with our hospitals and clinical agencies to ensure Pellissippi State students get the experience needed to be safe professional nurses,” Lunsford said. “Our program is extremely rigorous and requires students to spend 20 to 30 hours a week on their studies. All of these factors are what makes achieving a 100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} pass rate something of which to be very proud.” 

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. echoed his pride in the College’s spring 2020 graduates. 

“To have 100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} of graduates pass the NCLEX in the best of times is an outstanding achievement. To do so in the midst of a curriculum change and pandemic is quite remarkable,” he said. “Our faculty and staff did a wonderful job preparing the students for success, and our graduates have demonstrated excellence across the board. They will serve as outstanding nursing professionals in our community for years to come.”   

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Nursing program, visit 

Lendio Franchise announced in Knoxville to expand access to capital for local businesses

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – October 22, 2020 – Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced the opening of a Lendio franchise in Knoxville. Through the Lendio franchise program, Dave Prescher and Zac Smith will be a resource for small business owners at every stage of development to help them identify and secure financing.

Lendio is an online service that helps business owners find the working capital they need through its network of over 75 lenders. Funding options include SBA loans, startup loans, equipment loans, commercial real estate loans and more. In the last year alone, Lendio facilitated more than $500 million in loans.

The Lendio Franchising program matches small business owners with the nation’s top online lenders in a way that has never been done before, through funding experts in their local communities. Franchisees are small business owners themselves, and as such, understand the needs of local business owners and can guide them through the lending process. In Knoxville, Prescher and Smith will guide business owners through the process of securing the funding they need, all while ensuring that all aspects of their business are working to their strongest capabilities.

“Knoxville is truly a hidden gem,” said Prescher, co-owner of Lendio Knoxville. “Beyond the beauty of the region and the amazing culture here, there is so much opportunity. Zac and I are eager to assist local entrepreneurs, especially during this unusually challenging time.”

The local Lendio team will forge strategic partnerships with community banks and other professionals serving small businesses to identify those seeking access to capital. The region is home to 60,000 small businesses representing a wide variety of industries. Lendio Knoxville will do everything from helping construction companies seek lines of credit to science and technology firms secure growth capital. In addition to being backed by the largest business loan marketplace in the country, Prescher and Smith’s franchise will benefit from Lendio’s strong, built-in supports, marketing campaigns and extensive hands-on training with a wide array of financing options and loan products.

“Most small businesses aren’t a good fit for the traditional bank loan experience and as a result, most applications are rejected,” said Mark Cottle, Executive Vice President of Franchising at Lendio. “Dave and Zac are going to fill that gap and will be amazing resources for the Knoxville business community. Their expertise is needed now more than ever.”

For more information on how to join the Lendio franchise program, visit: .

About Lendio

Lendio is a free online marketplace that leverages machine learning to help business owners find the right small business loans within minutes. With a network of over 75 lenders offering multiple loan products and over 100,000 small business loans funded, Lendio’s marketplace is the largest in the country and the center of small business lending. Based in the Silicon Slopes of Lehi, Utah, Lendio was recently recognized by Glassdoor as one of the Top 50 Workplaces and has been certified for four years running as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. In addition, Lendio ranks on Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance  and Inc.’s Best Workplaces. For every new loan facilitated on Lendio’s marketplace platform, Lendio Gives, an employee contribution and employer matching program, provides a microloan to a low-income entrepreneur around the world through More information about Lendio is available at Information about Lendio franchising opportunities can be found at  .

Hotel Amarano advances hospitality industry standard for guests safety; first to debut new innovative thermal technology

Following a full-scale property renovation and rebrand in September 2020, Hotel Amarano Burbank-Hollywood, Burbank’s newest luxury boutique hotel, announces a partnership with Knoxville, TN-based Inspectra Thermal Solutions (ITS) to bring a first-of-its-kind, non-invasive technology that reads body temperature upon entry to the hotel. Hotel Amarano is the first hotel in the United States to deploy this state-of-the-art infrared thermal imaging and fever detection system in partnership with ITS, elevating the hospitality industry standard for customer service, as well as guest and employee safety.

“We are committed to providing the safest environment for our guests and staff. This groundbreaking technology allows us to deliver a message of reassurance in real time,” said Tom Whelan, General Manager of Hotel Amarano Burbank-Hollywood. “The system represents the best of what technology can offer for the wellness of all who visit the property.”

The MEDICAS thermal imaging and fever detection system is manufactured in Europe and packaged, distributed, and installed in the United States by ITS, a leading company advancing multispectral imaging through science, technology, and innovation. MEDICAS is an advanced, non-invasive infrared body temperature scanner that reads body temperatures up to a 40-foot distance, or 1,200 square feet. The system is located on the lobby level of the hotel and automatically scans guests and staff upon entry. MEDICAS is highly accurate, detecting less than half of a degree temperature difference, and sends discrete and encrypted images of individuals with abnormal body temperatures to the hotel’s health and safety officer who notifies the individual about their potential health issue.

“The ownership and leadership at Hotel Amarano have been laser-focused on the safety and wellness of their guests during the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season,” said Randal Buckner, Chairman, President, and CEO of ITS. “We are honored to provide a reliable and extremely accurate technology to their team so they can meet their objectives.”

In addition to its newest endeavor into the hospitality industry, ITS provides thermal imaging technologies to NASCAR teams, construction companies, associations, event management companies, foundations, schools, the military, and biomedical research and hospitals.

“Not only I am using the ITS thermal imaging system in my neurosurgical practice but also I encourage the use of it in my hospital for pre-screening of visitors, patients and staff,” said  Jason Cormier, President-Elect of SBMT, Board Certified Neurosurgeon, CEO and Founder of Motorsports Safety Group, CEO and Founder of Motorsports Brain and Spine Foundation, FDA Consultant to the Neurological Devices Panel, Panels of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee and Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

“We have used the technology across industries, from working with racecars, to finding horsepower in engines, to using the cameras to visualize blood flow in the brain,” said Chris Dunn, Director of Technology and Chief Thermographer of ITS. “We like to find new ways to use the technology and the pandemic has led us into a direction to help new industries such as hospitality.”

Hotel Amarano Burbank-Hollywood—the only Four Diamond luxury boutique hotel in Burbank, California—enters its second act as a modern sanctuary evocative of Old Hollywood history and modern-day glamour. In Summer 2020, the 132-room hotel debuted a revived brand identity and property-wide refresh overseen by hospitality interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA). A tranquil hideaway where it’s easy to relax, play, dine, and meet in the Greater Los Angeles Area, Hotel Amarano offers convenient access to Hollywood Burbank Airport and is around the corner from Warner Bros. Studios Tour, one mile from Universal Studios Hollywood, and minutes from NBC Television Studios, The Ellen Show, and Disney Animation Studios.  

Rhode Island-based StepStone Hospitality specializes in management of boutique, full, and select-service hotels and restaurants, to maximize value to StepStone clients. The company provides a unique combination of strong, hands-on operations, strategic management, and food and beverage expertise, while maintaining a balanced focus between revenue enhancement, margin expansion, and guest satisfaction.

Our mission is to lead in developing, manufacturing, and advance multispectral and thermal imaging, to provide accurate and state-of-the-art data for healthcare, industrial maintenance, the automobile industry, conference & events, entertainment, academic institutions, and training facilities, security, the military, and other related industries. Inspectra Thermal Solutions’ vision: To advance multispectral imaging through science, technology, and innovation.

mdf commerce to acquire Vendor Registry, Inc., a provider of strategic sourcing solutions in the United States

MONTRÉAL, Nov. 2, 2020 /CNW/ – mdf commerce inc. (“mdf commerce”) (TSX: MDF), a leader in SaaS commerce technology solutions, announced today that it has entered into an agreement, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, for the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Vendor Registry, Inc. (“Vendor Registry”), a provider of strategic sourcing solutions in the United States. This acquisition aligns well with the 5-year strategic plan produced by mdf commerce during fiscal year 2020.

This acquisition adds close to 400 buyers and 70,000 suppliers nationally to the mdf commerce Strategic Sourcing Platform, strengthening the company’s position in 10 states and expanding its agency client base to 14 new states. mdf commerce is also pleased to welcome Chris Van Beke to the team, who will join as Vice President, Channel Development, Strategic Sourcing at mdf commerce.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Vendor Registry into the mdf commerce family,” said Mark Eigenbauer, President, Strategic Sourcing at mdf commerce. “We are impressed with the presence they have established in recent years and are excited to join forces. Together, our existing strategic sourcing solution and Vendor Registry serve 3,500 agencies and over 300,000 suppliers, with agency clients now covering 42 states. With this acquisition, our Strategic Sourcing solutions will be able to reach new markets and expand our offering, which will benefit both buyers and suppliers.”

“We are excited to join forces with mdf commerce,” said Chris Van Beke, Co-founder and CEO at Vendor Registry. “Our goal has always been to offer the easiest-to-use possible procurement service with industry-leading support to our clients. Coupled with the excellent product breadth and continuous growth of the mdf commerce Strategic Sourcing solutions, we will now be able to offer new opportunities to all participating agencies and suppliers in the United States.”

The total consideration for the acquisition is USD $5.25 million payable in cash, subject to certain purchase price adjustments. The closing of the acquisition is subject to certain standard conditions and is expected to take place on or about November 16, 2020.

About mdf commerce inc.

mdf commerce inc. (TSX:MDF), formerly known as Mediagrif Interactive Technologies Inc., enables the flow of commerce by providing a broad set of SaaS solutions that optimize and accelerate commercial interactions between buyers and sellers. Our platforms and services empower businesses around the world, allowing them to generate billions of dollars in transactions on an annual basis. Our strategic sourcing, unified commerce and emarketplace platforms are supported by a strong and dedicated team of more than 600 employees based in Canada, the United States, Denmark, Ukraine and China. For more information, please visit us at, follow us on LinkedIn or call at 1–877-677-9088.

About Vendor Registry, Inc.

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Vendor Registry serves over 400 public agencies and over 70,000 vendors across the United States. Vendor Registry’s mission is to streamline the purchasing process for cities, counties, utilities, higher education and school boards in order to generate new revenues for vendors and suppliers, decrease costs for government and institutional purchasing departments and save valuable time for all parties involved.

Fraley and Schilling announces groundbreaking ceremony for new terminal building

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – Fraley and Schilling announces a groundbreaking ceremony on November 17th , 2020, at 10:00 a.m. for their newest terminal building in Knoxville, TN. This terminal building will be located on Saddlerack Street, just off I-40 exit 398, Strawberry Plains Pike.

The new Knoxville terminal building will be the largest in the company at approximately 11,600 square feet. With the additional space, F&S will expand their footprint in the Knoxville market, bringing an estimated 100 additional jobs to the Knoxville market over the next 5 years.

“We have been privileged to be a member of the Knoxville community since 2010. Our Knoxville office has been the fastest growing in the company, and this additional space will enable us to further invest in the future of many families in the Knoxville area, ” said F&S President Chris Seals.

Fraley and Schilling is a trucking and logistics provider, specializing in lightweight equipment for hauling heavy products such as tin for Bush Beans and aluminum for Arconic. Beginning in 1955, F&S has become an industry leader in utilizing lightweight equipment to move essential goods across the United States. Employing over 700 people nationwide, with over 250 employed in the Knoxville area, F&S continues to grow. Fraley and Schilling was also named one of Knoxville’s Top Workplaces in 2019.

The groundbreaking will take place at 10:00 a.m. on November 17th, 2020 at 7240 Saddlerack Street Knoxville, TN 37914.

NRC fines TVA $900,000 for Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant violations

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued notices of violation and three civil penalties totaling $903,471 to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and issued violations (individual 1, individual 2, individual 3) to two managers and a plant operator for their roles in a 2015 incident.

The enforcement actions are the result of an NRC investigation into events that occurred during and after the startup of Watts Bar Unit 1 following a maintenance outage in November 2015. During the startup, operators failed to follow plant procedures and subsequently failed to properly document their actions in the control room log. Shift managers also failed to review the logs to ensure their accuracy.

Through numerous inspections, interviews, and predecisional enforcement conferences over more than four years, the NRC identified five TVA violations associated with non-conservative decision making, procedural violations, and incomplete and/or inaccurate information regarding the events provided by the utility to the NRC.

TVA and the three cited individuals have 30 days to respond to the NRC’s enforcement actions.

Section of West Blount Avenue to close temporarily as part of Kern’s Bakery rejuvenation

Restoration of the historic Kern’s Bakery property in South Knoxville is prompting a six-week closure of a part of West Blount Avenue, just off Chapman Highway, near a railroad overpass.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, West Blount Avenue will be closed between Chapman Highway and Rocky Shore Lane as Jones Brothers Contractors crews build new stormwater infrastructure. Durable long-lasting pipes are being installed beneath Chapman Highway and West Blount Avenue that will carry runoff water from the Kern’s Bakery site east of Chapman downhill to the Tennessee River.

The infrastructure design manages stormwater runoff water by diverting it to the river, which for this location is better environmentally than trapping water on-site in retention ponds.

Flagship Kerns is a 310-bedroom apartment community scheduled to open next year. Mallory & Evans Partners envisions the construction of the greenfield apartments, behind the 89-year-old landmark bakery, as a first step in redeveloping the 16-acre property into an innovative mixed-use community. 

A follow-up Phase 2 calls for converting the 75,000-square-foot art deco bakery building – additionally distinctive because of the moving loaf of bread neon sign on its front – into a 20-merchant food hall with 10,000 square feet of office space, full-service restaurants and entertainment space. Phase 3 envisions addition of a small hotel.

Kern’s Bakery, which has been vacant for almost a decade, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Following unsuccessful attempts by other developers to bring the property back into reuse, Mallory & Evans purchased the site in 2019.

Throughout the stormwater installation project, the signed detour route around the work zone will include West Blount, Martin Mill Pike and Chapman Highway.

The installation is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.

Food City Friends & Pets in Need Holiday Food Drive

Abingdon, VA (Monday, November 9, 2020) – Food City is preparing to kick-off their third annual Friends & Pets in Need Holiday Food Drive.    

“Hunger is a serious problem throughout our region, especially during the holidays and colder winter months.  Food City is proud to host a number of hunger relief programs throughout the year, including our Friends & Pets in Need Holiday Food Drive.  The drive will benefit local hunger relief organizations and animal shelters throughout our area at a critical time,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City’s president and chief executive officer.

Beginning November 11th and continuing through December 31st, specially marked bags containing non-perishable food items, as well as bags containing pet food products will be available for purchase for only $10 (plus tax) at all area Food City locations.  Customers wishing to purchase the bags may deposit them in the collection bins located at the front of the store.  100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} of the products collected will benefit local hunger relief organizations and animal shelters throughout the region.     

“Millions of Americans and animals need food assistance each year.  The Food City Friends & Pets in Need Holiday Food Drive is another way we can help those in need right here in our own area,” adds Kevin Stafford, vice president of marketing for Food City.

“Food City’s ongoing hunger relief initiatives have been a tremendous success and we are hoping to set a new record with this year’s drive to help our neighbors and furry friends in need,” said Smith.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City’s parent company) operates 134 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga and north Georgia.

McNabb Center’s Dear Santa program seeking donations

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) Each year the McNabb Center provides more than 2,300 children

and families with holiday gifts and experiences through its Dear Santa program,

presented by Discovery, Inc.

Last year, of those 2,300 children more than 1,000 received Christmas gifts from a

wish list as part of the Dear Santa Program. Children in need, who are clients of the

McNabb Center, and their siblings, have the opportunity to fill out their wish list for

Santa. The lists include toys as well as basic needs. Community individuals,

businesses and civic organizations then have the ability to shop for a specific child or


“We are seeing a greater need this holiday season,” said Rebecca McKnight, McNabb

Center’s public relations and communications coordinator. “Many of the children

and families we serve have been impacted by COVID-19, and many of the families we

serve have the greatest needs and fewest resources.”

As of early November, the Dear Santa Program has more than 150 children ages

birth through 18 years old still in need of a sponsor. The McNabb Center is working to

fill lists daily and is seeking to match all children with a sponsor by Friday, Nov. 20.

“We rely heavily on the generosity of our community and the spirit of giving,” said

McKnight. “These donated gifts help us serve as many children as possible and help

the children and families we serve experience the joy of the holiday season.”

Gifts for sponsored wish lists need to be delivered to the McNabb Center Tuesday,

Dec. 2 – Friday, Dec. 4. Further drop-off information will be provided to sponsors

when they sign up. For information about the Dear Santa program and how to

sponsor a child, visit

If you cannot sponsor a child, but still wish to contribute,

visit For any additional information, please

contact Rebecca McKnight at (865) 329-9176 or [email protected].

The McNabb Center is the region’s leading nonprofit provider of mental health,

substance use, social and victim services. By focusing on an individual’s “Well Mind,

Well Being,” we provide a quality and compassionate approach to care from infancy

through adulthood. Since 1948, the Center has proudly served individuals with the

most needs and fewest resources. Today, the McNabb Center delivers support to

more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more

information, visit or call 1-800-255-9711.

Honor and celebrate veterans with Pilot Company’s Round-Up for Wreaths Across America and Free Breakfast for Veteran

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (October 22, 2020) – In recognition and appreciation of all who served, Pilot Company announced today an in-store round-up fundraiser benefiting Wreaths Across America through the end of the year. The funds raised will support Wreaths Across America’s goal to place more than 2.2 million wreaths in all 50 states to remember and honor fallen soldiers during the holidays. In celebration of Veterans Day, from Nov. 9-15, the company will offer all veterans one free breakfast combo, valid at participating U.S. Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers.

“The holiday season is a special time to remember and recognize veterans for their sacrifice,” said James A. Haslam II, a U.S. Army veteran and founder of Pilot Company. “On behalf of our 28,000 team members, we sincerely thank the men and women who’ve selflessly served our country. We appreciate Wreaths Across America’s mission of remember, honor and teach and invite our guests to partner with us in support of their goal to lay a wreath on every hero’s grave.” 

Now through Dec. 31, guests visiting any of the 750 company-operated stores in the U.S., including participating Pilot and Flying J travel centers* and One9 Fuel Network stores, can opt to round-up purchases** to the nearest whole dollar and donate the additional amount to Wreaths Across America. In remembrance of the company’s hometown heroes, Pilot Company is donating $20,000 and contributing $20,000 from the round-up campaign to support the Wreaths Across America ceremonies in Knoxville, Tennessee.

a sandwich sitting on top of a table next to a cup of coffee: Pilot Company and Wreaths Across America partnered to bring the Mobile Education Exhibit to the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, North Carolina on October 20, 2020 for free a public tour. Now through Dec. 31, 2020, Pilot Company is raising funds for Wreaths Across America with an in-store round-up at its 750 company-operated stores in the U.S.

© Submitted
Pilot Company and Wreaths Across America partnered to bring the Mobile Education Exhibit to the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, North Carolina on October 20, 2020 for free a public tour. Now through Dec. 31, 2020, Pilot Company is raising funds for Wreaths Across America with an in-store round-up at its 750 company-operated stores in the U.S.

“It is partners like Pilot Company that continue to step up and amaze us with their generosity, not just with the financial support of sponsoring wreaths, but in their commitment to the veterans in the industry and in their communities that deserve recognition,” said Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America. “This new round up program is beyond anything we could have expected or hoped for and we are grateful to Pilot Company and all the professional drivers and carriers that help us move the mission.”

The round-up fundraiser is part of Pilot Company’s long-standing support of Wreaths Across America, including helping to fuel the organization’s traveling Mobile Education Exhibit to visit cities across the U.S. The exhibit is open to the public for free tours at several locations throughout the year and recently made a tour stop on October 20, 2020 at the Pilot Travel Center in Mebane, North Carolina. Pilot Company also supports and is honored to participate in Wreaths Across America’s celebration of veterans in the trucking industry, recognizing and thanking the veteran professional drivers that transport the wreaths to more than 2,200 locations across the country for the annual holiday wreath-laying ceremonies.

Pilot Company also will celebrate Veterans Day with a week-long special offer for all U.S. military veterans. From Nov. 9-15, all veterans are invited to enjoy a free Pilot Coffee of any size and one free breakfast offering, such as the french toast sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. The Veterans Day Breakfast Combo offer is available through the Pilot Flying J app and is redeemable at participating U.S. Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

To learn more about Pilot Company and its longstanding commitment to giving back, visit For nearby travel center locations to donate and to redeem the breakfast offer for veterans, download the Pilot Flying J app.*** More information on Wreaths Across America is available at

*Round-up donations made at Knoxville-area Pilot Convenience Stores will benefit JDRF through November 1, 2020 and Salvation Army from November 23 – December 25, 2020.

**Certain purchases (including, without limitation, fuel and fuel additives and purchases made on fleet cards or direct bill programs) are not eligible for round-up contributions.

***Standard data rates may apply.

About Pilot Company

Pilot Company keeps North America’s drivers moving as one of the leading suppliers of fuel and the largest operator of travel centers. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Company supplies more than 11 billion gallons of fuel per year and has an industry-leading network of more than 950 retail and fueling locations that offer a variety of products, amenities and innovative solutions to make road travel easier. The Pilot Flying J travel center network includes locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces with more than 680 restaurants, 74,000 truck parking spaces, 5,300 deluxe showers, 6,200 diesel lanes and 34 Truck Care service centers. The One9 Fuel Network provides fleets and professional drivers with more places to stop at a variety of fueling locations. Pilot Company’s energy division supplies fuel, DEF, bio and renewables and provides hauling and disposal services as the third largest tanker fleet in North America.

Pilot Company is currently ranked No. 10 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies. More information on locations and amenities are available on the Pilot Flying J app. For additional information about Pilot Company and its commitment to team members and giving back, visit

House-Hasson to hold online dealer Market in January 2021 in place of Nashville event; in-person markets to resume when COVID-19 safety improves and restrictions lifted

(KNOXVILLE, TENN.) — House-Hasson Hardware will conduct in January 2021 an online dealer market sales event similar to the company’s highly successful summer online dealer market.

Plans have been shelved to hold an in-person market during Jan. 2021, at Nashville’s Opryland Hotel, says Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson, America’s largest independent regional hardware distributor.

“This week we looked at the statistics on COVID-19 and restrictions that exist at present on large gatherings in Nashville,” Hasson said. “We decided to cancel the in-person Opryland Hotel market, and we’re instead going to have a full-blown online market.”

The Fresh Start online dealer market is scheduled for Jan. 28 – 29. Such programs as bonus buys, pallet buys, super savers, deals on drop ship and warehouse orders, and other dealer margin builders, will be part of the market.

Hasson said that getting word out early about the change of plans is important because of the numbers of people who attend markets, the amount of advance preparation required, and to enable dealers to begin planning how to make the most out of the January online market.

“Our online market in June 2020 had about a 20 percent year-over-year sales gain,” Hasson added. “To say we were pleased would be an understatement.

“We chose to go with a smaller sales event in October, principally because product demand was so high we had to focus on meeting the immediate needs of our dealers. Their profitability is the basis for everything we do.”

Hasson said he and the company staff miss being able to visit personally with customers.

“For nearly 115 years we’ve been building relationships with dealers,” he said.  “There’s a lot of personality in the hardware business, and the interpersonal relationships are an important part of our company’s life.

“Still, we want to hold a market in which people can be confident of their safety. It just didn’t seem like a good idea to even think about trying to get 1,500 to 2,000 people, or more, in one room where they’ll be looking at hardware, or to have lunch. Plus, restrictions are such that it wasn’t feasible.”

He said information about the January market can be found on the company’s website and specifics will be shared in the coming days on the site, in communications with dealers and vendors, and through the trade media.

House-Hasson Hardware serves some 2,500 dealers in 23 U.S. states and the Caribbean basin. The company’s website is

Dunkin’ of Knoxville raises $1.2 million with single-day fundraiser toward ending Polio worldwide

Dunkin’ locations in Tennessee helped to raise $1.2 Million to further efforts around eradicating polio globally. On average, it costs $3 to vaccinate a child against polio for their entire life, which would theoretically allow for 400,000 children to receive the vaccine.  

a group of people posing for a picture: Dunkin’s Purple Pinkie Day fundraiser where Dunkin’ locations in Tennessee helped to raise $1.2 Million to further efforts around eradicating polio globally.

© Submitted
Dunkin’s Purple Pinkie Day fundraiser where Dunkin’ locations in Tennessee helped to raise $1.2 Million to further efforts around eradicating polio globally.

As part of the program, 125 Dunkin’ locations across Alabama and Tennessee recently partnered with area Rotary districts to raise money through the Purple Pinkie Day fundraiser where guests were invited to donate $2 at a participating Dunkin’ and received a Purple Pinkie Donut as a “thank you”. Rotary, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, would each match the guest donation respectively to increase the $2 into an $18 donation. To allow 100 percent of the $1.2 Million proceeds to benefit End Polio Now, several local Dunkin’ franchisees donated more than 60,000 Purple Pinkie Donuts toward the cause. 

This $1.2 Million will be used to fund a variety of efforts including vaccinating children, community outreach efforts, collecting and transporting samples for positive polio test, conducting training and COVID-19 protection for the volunteers. These polio eradication efforts will impact areas where polio still remains a threat (Afghanistan and Pakistan) as well as at-risk countries (often throughout Africa: like DRC, Nigeria and Angola). 

Freeman Webb expands employment opportunities with over 2,000 units in Knoxville

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) – Amid a year of unprecedented uncertainty, Nashville-based real estate and investment firm Freeman Webb Company has maintained its position as a leading employer and investment opportunity. Named a 2020 Top Workplace by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Freeman Webb has actively restructured the firm’s portfolio through strategic dispositions, acquisitions, asset refinancing and corporate mergers. This has enhanced the firm’s revenue while also creating significantly more employment opportunities during a period of record unemployment.

“We are pleased to see that our long-standing business principles of taking care of our residents and clients and making smart business decisions for our investors continue to pay off, despite the economic instability we are all overcoming this year,” commented Freeman Webb Co-founder and Chairman Bill Freeman. “We have seen record growth in 2020, and we are happy to be a sound investment for our business partners and investors. I am equally as proud that we have helped our residents through their individual challenges however we can and created new positions to provide employment for more employees than our company has seen in its first 40 years.”

The company followed their disposition activity in 2019, which included the sale of six properties for $75 million across Nashville, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Jackson, Tennessee, with an active expansion during 2020. The company closed on five acquisitions in the first nine months of 2020, totaling more than $50 million in assets and 614 units. These include:

  • Tremont Apartments in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Bluff View at Northside Apartments in Hixson, Tennessee
  • Innovation Flats at Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Lakeshore Crossing in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Cottages at Madison Landing in Madison, Alabama

“Freeman Webb has maintained its position as a company that puts a great deal of research and planning into our dispositions and acquisitions,” stated Kirby Davis, Jr., Freeman Webb’s chief operating officer. “We work very hard to be a wise investment opportunity, but we work just as hard to remain an affordable and reliable source for our

current and prospective residents.”

The company’s footprint in the Knoxville area is considerable, with over 2,000 multi-family units in their portfolio. “Freeman Webb currently manages 2,078 units with a myriad of floor plans in various areas of town,” commented Deanna Hill, Freeman Webb’s regional manager who oversees the company’s Knoxville-area properties. “We can meet almost anyone’s need for their apartment home. In addition, Freeman Webb was recently awarded the fee management for two apartment communities in the Knoxville area, which is very exciting.”

The company is aware of the challenges facing our community, from both recent circumstances and from longstanding challenges facing chronic homelessness. With a desire to help keep families intact while they try to get a new start, Freeman Webb continues to provide several apartments in the Knoxville area for little to no cost for

families experiencing homelessness, an initiative they launched in 2016. “We continue to work with nonprofit organizations whose mission is to help those with chronic homelessness,” stated Hill. “Through this effort, we can give back to our community. We are happy to provide housing, especially where we can help keep families together. No one can solve the homelessness problem by themselves, but if we work collaboratively, we can certainly make a difference. This is in addition to our more recent efforts to help those impacted by COVID-19 by working with them to identify organizations that offer financial assistance. We have a duty to help where we can.”

With their corporate focus on growth, Freeman Webb also recently merged with Nashville-based Continental Property Management, founded in 1985 by former President and Chief Manager Charles Biter. This merger adds 10 properties and an additional 1,020 units to Freeman Webb’s management portfolio with an expansion in

company locations in Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as an additional location in Mississippi.

“Freeman Webb has a well-earned reputation for honest and successful dealings and generously agreed to accept all our 31 employees,” commented Mr. Biter. “This merger will be extremely beneficial to our beloved clients and owners, as Freeman Webb will afford better collective pricing with vendors and suppliers and will provide indepth

services such as marketing, IT services, construction and mortgage lending.”

The firm’s growth through acquisitions, mergers and third-party management has created several new employment opportunities. Freeman Webb has increased its employee figures by 11 percent in 2020, growing from 508 employees at end-of-year 2019 to a current 568 employees.

Amidst the expansion of 2020, the company has also executed a number of refinancing projects to take advantage of record low interest rates. Freeman Webb proactively refinanced six properties in the past six months, locking in 10-year, fixed interest rates at or below 2.5 percent. Combining the company’s refinanced and newly-acquired

properties, Freeman Webb has completed transactions in excess of more than a quarter billion dollars in value during 2020. The refinanced properties include:

  • Hillhurst Apartments in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Sussex Downs in Franklin, Tennessee
  • Colony House Apartments in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Alder Terrace Apartments in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Ashwood Cove II in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Ashwood Cove III in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

The company has also increased its third-party property management footprint by adding additional properties under its purview in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; Pearl, Mississippi; and Hopkinsville, Kentucky. These facilities represent seven different markets across four states and

include 1,659 units collectively.

As part of their continued efforts to address the challenges facing their residents and communities, Freeman Webb has worked to provide continuity in housing for their residents through the Nashville tornadoes in March 2020 and throughout the pandemic response and shutdown orders. They have provided direct assistance to hundreds of

residents seeking assistance and unemployment services in recent months, and the company also covered all costs associated with efforts to immediately source and facilitate new apartment homes for over 300 residents displaced as a result of the March tornadoes, witnessing over 100 employees volunteering to provide assistance in packingbelongings, loading moving vans and setting up in their new homes.

Grains & Grits Festival to take place November 7

Grains & Grits, a festival of southern spirits and gourmet grub will return for a 5th year Saturday, November 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This year, attendees can once again experience the thriving craft spirits and gourmet food community, while discovering some of the region’s legendary distillers and blenders. New this year is a craft cocktail tent presented by Single Barrel Events that will feature 10 unique concoctions made from the distillers present at the festival, which will be held at the Townsend Visitors Center located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, Tennessee.

The Blount Partnership is hosting the event in partnership with the Tennessee Distillers Guild. Tickets are currently sold out and more information is available at

Attendance to this year’s event is limited with social distancing measures in place. Proper sanitation will also be provided.

Food City kicks off Race Against Hunger campaign

Abingdon, VA (Monday, November 2, 2020) – Since 1992, Food City has been teaming up with their valued customers to host their annual Race Against Hunger campaign, which raises a substantial amount of money for local hunger relief organizations.   

“Hunger is a serious problem throughout our region and our Race Against Hunger program provides vital support to numerous hunger relief organizations throughout our market area,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City’s president and chief executive officer.

This year’s program will begin on November 4th and continue through December 1st.    Food City customers are invited to make a $1, $3, or $5 contribution as they checkout.  100{1e368efdbc5778293a1dba36f2d6241a4c7f47e278b3535a9e6c60a245c5f01f} of the proceeds raised will benefit local hunger relief organizations.  Approximately 6 meals are provided for every dollar donated.   

Customers who contribute using their ValuCard will be electronically entered to win their choice of a season race package at Bristol Motor Speedway or a $2,500 contribution made to the charity of their choice. 

“Million of Americans need food assistance each year.  Food City’s Race Against Hunger program is one way we can help those in need right here in our own community,” says Kevin Stafford, Food City vice president of marketing.

“Thanks to the support of our loyal customers and associates, last year’s program raised over $562,000 and we hope to raise even more this year to benefit our friends and neighbors in need,” says Smith.

Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores (Food City’s parent company) operates 134 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga and north Georgia.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center is an in-network provider for three 2021 Marketplace network plans

The open enrollment period for 2021 Marketplace plans is currently underway, meaning individuals and families can enroll in or renew a Marketplace plan for the coming year. The enrollment period began on Sunday, November 1, and runs through Tuesday, December 15. The University of Tennessee Medical Center is participating in three different network plans for the 2021 calendar year. All available plans can be reviewed and enrolled in by visiting

The networks where UT Medical Center is an in-network provider include Bright Health, Cigna Connect and Blue Network S (a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee plan). Individuals and families, who would like to receive health care services in 2021 that are covered at The University of Tennessee Medical Center, are encouraged to choose one of the three networks.

Patients, who choose to sign up for Marketplace plans, represent a broad audience. This includes individuals who are self-employed or who work for a company that does not offer health insurance. Other Marketplace customers include those who need coverage but do not qualify for either TennCare or Medicare.

As COVID-19 has impacted employment status and benefits situations this year, there may be affected individuals and families, who would be ideally suited for a 2021 Marketplace plan. The Marketplace also may be an appealing option for those who are looking for another choice for their health insurance coverage.

For more information about Marketplace plans accepted by The University of Tennessee Medical Center, call (865) 305-9016 to reach the medical center’s financial counselors or visit for all Marketplace information.

About The University of Tennessee Medical Center

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, a Magnet® recognized hospital also certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and Comprehensive Cardiac Center, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center is a 685-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, with a regional network of primary care and specialty care physicians and practices as well as outpatient regional health centers and urgent care locations throughout its 21-county primary service area. The medical center, the region’s ACS-verified Level I Trauma Center and state designated regional perinatal referral center with a Level III private room NICU, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. UT Medical Center features seven Centers of Excellence, including the Brain & Spine Institute, Cancer Institute, Emergency & Trauma Center, Heart Lung Vascular Institute, Advanced Orthopaedic Center, Primary Care Collaborative and Center for Women & Infants. Visit for more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

O.H. Ingram River Aged announces move to East Tennessee markets, including Chattanooga, Knoxville and tri-cities

NASHVILLE (Oct. 29, 2020) – Brown Water Spirits LLC, the maker of the O.H. Ingram River Aged Series, announced today that after a strong launch in Middle Tennessee, it is moving into East Tennessee, including, but not limited to, the Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities markets.

The first of the Ingram River Aged Series, O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, hit shelves in early October. The next in the series, a Straight Rye, will be available in November.

O.H. Ingram River Aged is the only whiskey aged inside a first-of-its-kind floating rickhouse moored on the riverbank in Ballard County, KY. Here, it’s exposed to the climate of the Mississippi River and its drastic rise and fall to provoke a unique interaction between wood and spirit. The constant motion of the river ensures that the whiskey never stops working, creating an extraordinary spirit with a taste mature beyond its years.

All whiskeys are products of their environment, but only O.H. Ingram River Aged is ‘mellowed on the Mississippi.’

“It’s been wonderful to see the reaction from whiskey lovers since hitting the market,” said proprietor Hank Ingram. “Our process of aging our whiskey from start to finish on the river makes us unique. It’s a new wave of whiskey that you can taste in every bottle – and customers are responding to it. We’ve worked hard to create what I believe is a truly outstanding product, and I can’t wait for folks in East Tennessee to experience it.”

Hank is the latest in his family to bring a great idea to the river’s edge. Seventy five years ago, his great-grandfather moved the family to Nashville and began its American success story with two things – barges and a rushing river. Now, Hank is adding his chapter to this story by bringing together whiskey and the magic of the river to create O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey.

Credentials: O.H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey

Proof: 96

Tasting Notes:

  • Appearance: Amber, honey, gold, medium viscosity, clear
  • On the Nose: Honey, aged newsprint, butterscotch, cherrywood
  • Mouthfeel: Warm, velvet
  • Palate: Stone fruit, dried apricot, raisin, honeycomb, caramel
  • Finish: Long, soft baking spices, cinnamon and allspice, warm rye spice, honey, citrus, orange peel

To learn more about the Ingram River Aged Series and sign up for updates, please visit You can also follow Ingram Whiskey on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


Brown Water Spirits LLC was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Nashville, TN. With whiskey aging operations in Ballard County, Kentucky, Brown Water Spirits pioneered the first patent-pending floating rickhouse on the Mississippi River. The result is the O.H. Ingram River Aged Series.

Oak Ridge gets new U-Haul dealer at Monday’s Paint and Body

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2020) — U-Haul Company of Tennessee is pleased to announce that Monday’s Paint and Body has signed on as a U-Haul® neighborhood dealer to serve the Oak Ridge community.

Monday’s Paint and Body at 238 Elza Drive will offer essential services like U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, moving supplies and in-store pickup for boxes.

Normal business hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday; and on-call Sunday. Reserve U-Haul products at this dealer location by calling (865) 685-4081 or visiting today.

Monday’s Paint and Body owner Gary Monday is proud to team with the industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage to better meet the demands of Anderson County.

U-Haul has teamed with independent dealers to offer moving equipment since 1945. With the COVID-19 outbreak creating challenging times for small businesses, more than 20,000 dealers across the U.S. and Canada are creating supplemental income through their U-Haul partnership. When a customer rents from a U-Haul dealer, they are directly supporting an independent small business in their community.

As an essential service provider, U-Haul stores and dealers continue to serve the public. Our products are utilized by First Responders; delivery companies bringing needed supplies to people’s homes; small businesses trying to remain afloat; college students; and countless other dependent groups – in addition to the household mover.

Please visit for more information on how U-Haul is keeping its Team Members and customers safe.

U-Haul is pleased to offer programs that inherently promote social distancing with minimal or no contact with others. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7® allows customers to create an online account and pick up their truck at any hour using only their smartphone with photo feature and GPS. Trained Live Verify agents interact with customers online, enabling them to skip the lines and go straight to their truck.

About U-HAUL

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of do-it-yourself movers, with a network of 22,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 offers secure access to U-Haul trucks every hour of every day through the customer dispatch option on their smartphones and our proprietary Live Verify technology. Our customers’ patronage has enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to approximately 176,000 trucks, 127,000 trailers and 41,000 towing devices. U-Haul offers nearly 774,000 rentable storage units and 66.7 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. U-Haul is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry, and is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S.

Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation launches campaign to support local organizations to fight childhood hunger

OAK RIDGE, October 30, 2020 – What started as an employee t-shirt campaign supporting Y-12 Federal Credit Union’s Gives Foundation has garnered so much internal interest and support, the foundation has decided to open the campaign to the public. The shirts, ranging in a variety of colors and styles, including tees, hoodies and racerbacks are available in both youth and adult sizes with prices ranging from $18.00 – $25.00. All proceeds are being dispersed locally to organizations that support the Gives Foundation mission of fighting childhood hunger.

Campaign apparel, called “This Shirt Feeds Kids” can be ordered directly from this link and orders will ship directly to the address supplied.

The Gives Foundation’s original mission focused on three broad community needs: Health, wellness and education. In 2019, the board narrowed the mission focus to support a specific cause that still touched all three needs, but in a more hyper-focused approach centered around childhood hunger. Since its inception, the Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation has awarded over $350,000 to charities aligned with this mission. So far this year, the Gives Foundation has successfully donated over $123,000 to childhood hunger as well as other discretionary funds directly related to COVID-19 community relief.

When asked about the passion behind the purpose and why community support is so important, Gives Foundation President, Jennifer Brown stated, “When I hear statistics like Second Harvest’s “1 in every 5 children is at risk of hunger,” I immediately think of my boys, their friends, and their classmates. This is why I’m so passionate about the Y-12 FCU GIVES Foundation. A child we are supporting through our foundation might just be sitting next to one of mine in their classroom.”

About Y-12 FCU Gives

The Y-12 FCU Gives Foundation was established in 2017 by Y-12 Federal Credit Union, a full-service financial institution headquartered in Oak Ridge, TN. The foundation was established to extend the Y-12 FCU mission of people helping people. The purpose of the foundation is to reduce the number of undernourished children in the communities we serve by providing them food, knowledge, and resources. Learn more at

Walls for Women Get Out the Vote Facebook Live Party set for today

NASHVILLE, Tenn., October 30, 2020 – In keeping with the spirit of the 19th Amendment, Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery, the Tennessee Whiskey Trail and DMA-events announced a Get Out the Vote Facebook Live Party on Monday, November 2, 2020 at 7 p.m. CST.

The engaging live stream event will allow viewers to meet the team behind the Walls for Women murals—a mural festival spanning 440 miles across the state of Tennessee commemorating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote.

During the live stream, the team will share stories, discuss suffrage and empowerment themes throughout the mural project and even share a special cocktail demo dedicated to the project.

The trailer for Colin Shuran’s upcoming full-length Walls for Women documentary will be released during the evening as well.

The Walls for Women project and nonprofit, DMA-events, was founded by traveling journalists Kristin Luna and her husband Scott van Velsor who run the popular Camels & Chocolate blog.

In early 2020, Luna, put out a call to any city, chamber, CVB or small business in Tennessee who wanted to be part of Walls for Women. Luna’s nonprofit worked with each city or county to establish the location and building and to arrange the artist and accommodations.  They were met with an enthusiastic response from towns of all sizes and have murals in seven locations including Knoxville, Maryville, Nashville, Centerville, Tullahoma, McMinnville and Nolensville.

Luna explains the purpose of the mural festival goes beyond the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

“Voter participation is nowhere near the levels it needs to be for a functioning democracy,” said Luna. “While the murals honor the ratification of the 19th amendment and are integral in the beautification of downtown areas, we also want to see this project lead to an increase in Tennessee’s voter turnout, both this election season but every year going forward.”

Representatives from the cities that each participated in the mural project encourage people to participate in the live stream event. Kim Mitchell, director of tourism for the Blount Partnership in Maryville, Tennessee, hopes the event will remind people why it’s important to vote.

“The city of Maryville is home to a beautiful Walls for Women mural by artist Nicole Salgar and as part of the mural festival, it’s a reminder for everyone to exercise their right to vote,” said Mitchell. “We look forward to the Get Out the Vote Facebook Live Party and hope people will participate. Elections have consequences and every person’s voice matters.”

To watch the Get Out the Vote Facebook Live Party and to learn more about this live stream event, visit

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: As temperatures drop, concern grows over home fire safety in Tennessee

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