Knoxville Biz Ticker: Windy Hill Farm and Preserve launches Summer Concert Series, opens to public

Windy Hill Farm and Preserve launches Summer Concert Series, opens to public

Windy Hill Farm and Preserve will host a Summer Concert Series to celebrate the season, present music from regional and nationally recognized artists and introduce guests to the newly expanded East Tennessee resort.

Located in Loudon, Windy Hill Farm and Preserve is an all-inclusive boutique resort with accommodations ranging from nine private cabins to an eight-room guesthouse and a spacious farmhouse for groups and large families. It also features an on-site restaurant, Wilder at Windy Hill, a hunting lodge, working farm and wildlife habitat.

The Summer Concert Series launch coincides with the opening celebration of Windy Hill Farm and Preserve as an overnight leisure destination. The series kicks off the weekend of July 1-2 with two concerts by Cruz Contreras, founder and frontman of The Black Lillies.

Contreras has partnered with Windy Hill to curate a group of the region’s top independent Americana artists to headline the series.

“Windy Hill Farm and Preserve is a place where guests can come to unwind and recharge and leave with a renewed connection to the world around them – and the experience engages all the senses,” General Manager Steven Brewington said. “Adding Cruz’s music against the backdrop of the farm was a wonderful way for us to celebrate our opening. Now, with his help, we’ll spend the summer adding the sounds of the region amid the visual beauty of nature, the tastes of the restaurant, the smell of fresh air.

“We can’t wait for people to visit us and experience Windy Hill – whether as overnight guests or coming to enjoy a concert.”

The Summer Concert Series at Windy Hill Farm and Preserve will feature the following artists:

  • Cruz Contreras

  • Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters

  • Tyler Ramsey and Carl Broemel

  • Jill Andrews

  • Caroline Spence

  • Erick Baker

  • Chatham County Line

  • The Steel Wheels

  • Additional artists to be announced

In addition to VIP concert access included for overnight guests at the all-inclusive resort, tickets are available to the public and include options for the Saturday night outdoor concert with either dining at Wilder restaurant before the show or inventive takes on classic concert concessions during the show. Each concert also will have a cash bar.

Tickets range without overnight accommodations from $50-$150. Tickets for the first three shows currently are on sale and include Cruz Contreras on Friday, July 1, and Saturday, July 2; Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters on Saturday, July 16; and Tyler Ramsey and Carl Broemel on Saturday, July 30.

Additional artists announcements and a full schedule of the concert series from July-October 2022 will be posted at windyhillfarmtn.com/music, where the public also can purchase tickets.

“Music tells the story of a place: its history, its people, its tradition,” Brewington said. “The way we aim to preserve and celebrate East Tennessee heritage at Windy Hill Farm will be amplified by these artists, and we look forward to enjoying the music and the farm together.”

For more information visit windyhillfarmtn.com or call 865-657-1700.

Tennova Healthcare - North Knoxville Medical Center uses new technology to enhance maternal and fetal safety

Knoxville, TN (June 22, 2022) – The childbirth team at Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center is now using an artificial intelligence-based maternal-fetal early warning system called PeriWatch Vigilance to enhance patient safety during labor and delivery. The system continuously monitors maternal vital signs, fetal heart rate, contractions, and labor progression to help clinicians quickly identify any concerning developments for faster intervention.

Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center delivers more than 750 babies each year. Stacy Wood, RN, director of women’s services, indicates this new technology is an important resource to support maternal/fetal health and safe deliveries.

“Every delivery is unique and the health and well-being of every mom and baby is our priority during childbirth,” says Jeanette Toney, MD. “While most births happen without complication, there are some inherent risks in the delivery of a newborn. This new technology adds another layer of protection throughout the labor process to help our maternity team recognize, prevent and respond to avoidable complications.”

Through pattern recognition, the technology can also pinpoint opportunities for overall improvement based on consolidated data from multiple births. As the maternity team reviews trends and identifies areas where improvement is possible, the hospital can use that information to develop protocols that further increase safety and may lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies.

“By investing in this technology, Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center is making labor and delivery safer for mothers and babies,” said Colin McRae, chief executive officer, Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center. “Our physicians and nurses are highly skilled medical professionals and excellent caregivers and they appreciate the use of technology to support their work, especially when it helps keep our patients safe.”

The team at Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center has received the Daisy Team award for exceptional prenatal, delivery and postpartum care. Additionally, the spacious birthing suites at Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center feature a labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) model that keeps mother and child together from admission to discharge. The larger rooms also accommodate larger family support networks.

To learn more about Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center childbirth services or to find a physician, visit tennovanorthknoxville.com/maternity-care-services or call 865-859-8000.

Tennova Healthcare-North Knoxville Medical Center offers a free e-newsletter with a monthly dose of health and wellness inspiration sent directly to your inbox from a trusted medical source. Go to tennovanorthknoxville.com/enewsletter-sign-up for sign-up page on hospital website.

UTHSC team receives $2.19 million to study neurotoxicity of commonly-used chemical solvent

Memphis, Tenn. (June 20, 2022) – A team of University of Tennessee Health Science Center researchers has been awarded $2.19 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for their investigation of the neurotoxic effects of toluene, a common chemical found in many household products.

Alex M. Dopico, MD, Van Vleet Chair of Excellence and professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Addiction Science, and Toxicology (PHAST) in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and Anna N. Bukiya, PhD, professor in the same department, are principal investigators on the award. Jeff Steketee, PhD, also professor in the PHAST Department and chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, is a co-investigator.

Toluene reaches the brain through inhalation. Intoxication with toluene, whether accidental or following recreational use (e.g., “glue sniffing”), leads to dizziness, blurred vision and even neurological deficits with catastrophic outcomes, including death. A reduction in blood flow to the brain is thought to contribute to these toxic effects, but how and why toluene exposure affects the brain circulation is not known.

The team hypothesizes that toluene reduces the activity of a protein (the BK channel) located in the cerebral artery muscle cells, causing the brain arteries to constrict upon exposure. Performing tests at the molecular level using computational methods, and in vitro and in vivo evaluation of BK channel function in animal models, the team aims to identify the specific mechanism and site of action in BK channels that makes cerebral arteries constrict in the presence of toluene. Their tests will include delivering new selective drug therapies for early intervention in toluene-induced brain ischemia.

The project, titled “Ionic mechanisms of toluene cerebrovascular actions,” is being funded over five years.

As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/uthsc, on Twitter: twitter.com/uthsc and on Instagram: instagram.com/uthsc.

Pilot Flying J introduces exclusive new women’s clothing line by Buffalo Outdoors

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (June 21, 2022) – From work wear to casual wear, Pilot Flying J’s exclusive clothing line by Buffalo Outdoors is designed with every guest in mind and is now available at more than 200 participating Pilot and Flying J travel centers across North America. New to the collection is an exclusive line of women’s clothing, available at select stores, that features travel ready attire including tie-dye bucket hats, jogger and pullover sets, tank tops, graphic tees and more.

“We looked at current clothing trends and what our guests would want to see in our clothing pieces,” said Theresa Rosas, manager of General Merchandise for Pilot Company. “Our goal is to provide functionality and comfort, and we’ve worked with Buffalo Outdoors to curate these items specifically for our guests in this season’s latest styles.”

The latest release of Buffalo Outdoors men’s and women’s clothes for Pilot Flying J provides travelers to professional drivers with more options for high quality and trendy products while on the road.  In addition to everyday casual pieces like lightweight button downs, hoodies, shorts, and accessories, Pilot Flying J offers functional apparel and safety gear, such as hardhats, gloves, and reflective jackets that are made tough for truck drivers and other hard-working professionals.

“Whether you’re on the road for work or fun and find yourself needing a fresh outfit, we’ve got you covered from head to toe,” said Rosas. “Swing by Pilot Flying J for a convenient way to shop on-the-go from a variety of brands and products.”

Pilot Flying J and Buffalo Outdoors will continue to explore new seasonal styles and plan for extending this exclusive clothing line to more travel center locations later this year with the release of a fall and winter collection.

About Pilot Flying J

Pilot Travel Centers LLC (“Pilot Flying J”), the largest network of travel centers in North America, is committed to connecting people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. The Pilot Flying J travel center network includes over 750 locations in 44 states and six Canadian provinces with more than 680 restaurants, 75,000 truck parking spaces, 5,300 deluxe showers, 6,200 diesel lanes and offers truck maintenance and tire service through Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J. Details on locations, amenities and rewards are available in the Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.. More information on Pilot Flying J is available at www.pilotflyingj.com.

Pilot Flying J is part of the Pilot Company family of brands. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Company is currently ranked No. 7 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies. For additional information about Pilot Company, its 28,000 team members and commitment to giving back, visit www.pilotcompany.com.

Cirrus Aircraft delivers first United Aviate Academy Training aircraft

Duluth, Minn. and Knoxville, Tenn. (16 June 2022) -- Today, Cirrus Aircraft delivered the first of twenty-five SR Series TRAC20 aircraft to United Aviate Academy. The TRAC20 is an advanced, high-performance aircraft that will be used for initial pilot training at the only ab-initio flight academy operated by one of the largest U.S.-based airlines. In February, the company announced a purchase agreement with United Aviate Academy to purchase twenty-five TRAC20 aircraft with the option to acquire fifty more as the program grows.

“The TRAC20 is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft on the market and we are super excited to bring it to our academy and train our students to prepare them for United Airlines,” said Dana Donati, Chief Executive Officer of United Aviate Academy.

United Aviate Academy’s TRAC20 fleet is equipped with an integrated avionics suite essential for situational awareness and hazard avoidance, such as Synthetic Vision, ChartView, Active Traffic and more. These advanced avionics will prepare United Aviate Academy students for their careers at regional and mainline airlines after graduation. Additionally, the hot weather package keeps students and instructors comfortable in the Goodyear, Arizona training environment. The hazard and traffic avoidance features provide extra safety in this dense flight training area.

Cirrus Aircraft offers an aircraft personalization program where customers work with the Cirrus Aircraft Xi Design team to create a custom aesthetic for their aircraft using their own inspiration and vision. United Aviate Academy collaborated with the Xi Design team to create a unique livery featuring aspects of both brands. All twenty-five aircraft will feature this thoughtful design featuring the blue and white United Aviate Academy logo on the tail, fuselage, and crew seats as well as a wear-resistant interior.

“Cirrus Aircraft is proud to work with United Aviate Academy to provide the next generation of United Airlines pilots with a fleet of advanced training aircraft built with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. For over 30 years, Cirrus Aircraft has been at the forefront of numerous industry safety innovations and maintains a safety rating well above the industry average,” said Zean Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Cirrus Aircraft. “Together, we are introducing more people to aviation and providing new opportunities for underrepresented populations by removing barriers and supporting new programs like United Aviate Academy.”

United Aviate Academy’s year-long training program at Phoenix Goodyear Airport sets up students for a career that reflects United’s high standard of professionalism and commitment to delivering a safe, caring, dependable and efficient travel experience. The Academy is part of United’s industry-leading pilot career development program, which offers aspiring and established pilots the most direct path to a United flight deck. Within the next decade, United aims to hire more than 10,000 pilots and train about 5,000 aspiring pilots to aviation through the Academy.

To learn more about the SR Series TRAC20, please visit cirrusaircraft.com/fleet.

About Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft is the recognized global leader in personal aviation and the maker of the best-selling SR Series piston aircraft and the Vision Jet®, the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet™, and the recipient of the Robert J. Collier Trophy. Founded in 1984, the company has redefined aviation performance, comfort and safety with innovations like the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) – the first FAA-certified whole-airframe parachute safety system included as standard equipment on an aircraft. To date, worldwide flight time on Cirrus aircraft has passed 14 million hours, and 230 people have returned home safely to their families as a result of the inclusion of CAPS as a standard feature on all Cirrus aircraft. The company has six locations in the United States, including Duluth, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Knoxville, Tennessee; Greater Dallas, Texas; Greater Phoenix, Arizona; and Greater Orlando, Florida. Learn more at cirrusaircraft.com.

Currents: Recent Art from East Tennessee and Beyond, pays tribute to contemporary women artists represented in the collection of the KMA

This exhibition, a special edition of the KMA’s permanent installation Currents: Recent Art from East Tennessee and Beyond, pays tribute to contemporary women artists represented in the collection of the Knoxville Museum of Art. This show and Women Artists: Highlights from the Hunter Museum of American Art (one floor up) document what two important Tennessee cultural organizations are doing to support and empower women artists.

Like the Hunter, the KMA has actively sought to acquire outstanding works by women, who have long lagged behind their male counterparts when it comes to museum-level recognition. The selection on view reflects the broad technical and aesthetic range found in contemporary art by women. A mixed media painting on wooden sections by Alison Moritsugu conveys a monumental landscape, expansive yet incomplete.  Nancy Rubins elevates graphite drawing into a large sculptural construction apparently shaped by violent forces. British artist Marilène Oliver constructs provocative portraits of her family in the form of acrylic sheets imprinted with digital medical scans.  Patty Chang uses water and mirrors to transform her own image taken in a Belgian church into a complex photographic work fragmented by harsh angles and provocative reflections. In her video Joan of Arc, Alex McQuilkin responds to Maria Falconetti’s memorable lead role in the legendary 1928 French silent film by Carl Dreyer, and to the film’s themes of adolescent desire, faith, and suffering. These and other selected works call overdue attention to women’s significant role in reshaping the contemporary art landscape.

The artists featured in this exhibition are Patty Chang, Janet Fish, Marcia Goldenstein, Michelle Grabner, EJ Hauser, Julie Heffernan, Jean Hess, Kate Katomski, Karen LaMonte, Pam Longobardi, Lauren Luloff, Alex McQuilkin, Alison Mortisugu, Althea Murphy-Price, Marilène Oliver, Amy Pleasant, Sumi Putman, Nancy Rubins, Tommie Rush, Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Jemima Stehli, and Toots Zynsky.

Ole Red Gatlinburg to celebrate Fourth of July with midnight parade patio party

Gatlinburg, Tenn. – Ole Red Gatlinburg will offer one of the best ways to celebrate Fourth of July this year when they host their Midnight Parade Patio Party during the annual Gatlinburg parade. Beginning at 11 p.m. on July 4th, guests can enjoy signature cocktails, scratch-made dishes inspired by Blake Shelton and some of the best country music in town.

Admission is $100 and includes an appetizer, cocktail and Ole Red merchandise. Guests will also have access to the patio for optimal viewing of the parade and live music from some of Gatlinburg’s best up-and-coming country artists. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit olered.com/orwb-2022/.

Ole Red Gatlinburg opened its doors in March of 2019 and brings the best of southern food, hospitality and concert-quality live country music to residents and visitors alike. Located at 511 Parkway, it is among five Ole Red locations nationwide inspired by Blake Shelton’s hit song “Ol’ Red.”

For the latest menu offerings and live music calendar, visit olered.com/gatlinburg/  and follow @olered on social media.

About Ole Red

Ole Red is a lifestyle and entertainment brand inspired by Blake Shelton’s clever, irreverent third-chart hit, “Ol’ Red.” Its bar, restaurant and live music venues showcase hand-selected country music talent alongside concert-quality production and a Shelton-inspired menu for a unique experience that is “served all day and night.” You can currently find Ole Red entertainment venues and products in four locations in the United States: Nashville, Tennessee, where the flagship, multi-story bar, restaurant and entertainment venue is located on famed Lower Broadway; Tishomingo, Oklahoma, Blake’s hometown; Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains; and Orlando, Florida, which opened in 2020 at Icon Park. The fifth and sixth locations are set to open in the Nashville International Airport in the first half of 2022 and in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2023 respectively. Ole Red is owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. as part of its Opry Entertainment division. For additional information about Ole Red, visit us online at OleRed.com.

Innov865 Week is back, bigger and better for 2022

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Back again with its most expansive format yet, the 10th edition of Innov865 Week’s pitch competition, Startup Day, is now accepting applications. Six startups from the Knoxville region will be selected to pitch their businesses and compete to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. This year’s Innov865 Week will be held from Friday Sept. 16, through Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.

Startup Day is the signature event of Innov865 Week, an annual celebration of Knoxville’s thriving entrepreneurial community, which will take place on Tuesday, Sept 20. At the competition, entrepreneurs will showcase their local startup to a panel composed of investors and business leaders.

In addition to Startup Day, the 2022 Innov865 Week will feature a variety of pitch showcases, speakers, workshops, networking opportunities, happy hours and tours throughout the week. This year, the Innov865 Alliance will launch track programming to guide and individualize each participant’s experience based on their interests.

Programs within each track will be supported by Knoxville-based businesses and organizations that specialize in that category. Each path highlights various parts of Innov865’s mission to develop, support and promote the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and its collaborative effort to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. This year’s offered tracks include: innovation, education, maker, culture and investor.

“The rise of multiple startup accelerators has put a national spotlight on the breadth and depth of Knoxville’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Derren Burrell, Founder and President of Veteran Ventures Capital. “We welcome any and all to join us for Innov865 Week to help us recognize and celebrate our region’s entrepreneurs and the impact they have in our community.”

More than 1,000 entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders, investors, community leaders and students attend Innov865 Week each year. For more information on Innov865 Week or to submit an application, please visit the Innov865 website at innov865.com.

Applicant Information

Applications are available on the Innov865 Week website at https://www.innov865.com/apply/.  Applicants must be located in the Knoxville region to be eligible. Applications close June 24, 2022 at 11:59p.m. ET. The Innov865 Alliance will review applications submissions and select six startups to compete. Selected finalists will be notified in mid-July.

About Innov865 Week & The Innov865 Alliance

Innov865 Week is a weeklong celebration of Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit that brings together startups, entrepreneurs, makers, investors, business leaders, students, and community leaders from across East Tennessee for a week of educational panels, pitch competitions, investor roundtables, and social events. It is presented by the Innov865 Alliance, a coalition that develops, supports, and promotes the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founding members of the Innov865 Alliance include the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, PYA, UT’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Three Roots Capital, Tennessee Valley Authority, Launch Tennessee, Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm, the City of Knoxville and Bunker Labs Knoxville. To learn more, visit innov865.com.

Young Professionals of Knoxville to host inaugural Giving Brunch benefiting local nonprofits

Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK) will host its inaugural Giving Brunch, a ticketed event sponsored by Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial and benefiting Young-Williams Animal Center and The Change Center. Guests will enjoy an exclusive menu at Oliver Royale on Saturday, June 25, at 1 p.m.

East Tennessee young professionals and advocates of the organizations are invited. Tickets start at $60, and for a $70 donation, attendees will be recognized as part of the YPK Leadership Circle. Proceeds support Young-Williams Animal Center’s lifesaving efforts and The Change Center’s mission to uplift area youth.

Tyler Janow, president of YPK, said, “Our organization has grown substantially over the last 18 months, enabling us to enhance our programming and quality of events. This positive shift prompted an examination of what distinguishes our membership from other young professionals in the area. A significant part of that identity is community service through philanthropy.”

The mission of YPK is “Connect. Develop. Serve.” The first Giving Brunch was born out of members’ desire to directly support community organizations that make Knoxville a better place to live and work. Guests will contribute to worthy causes while connecting with established and emerging leaders in the area.

“Young Professionals of Knoxville is proud of the multiaxial diversity of our members and the passion we all have for our mission,” Janow said. “We hope to continue offering ample opportunities to engage with and support these and other vital community resources.”

About Young Professionals of Knoxville

Young Professionals of Knoxville is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with a mission to inspire Knoxville’s young professionals to connect, develop and serve our community. Since 2007, Young Professionals of Knoxville (YPK) has worked to provide leadership and professional development opportunities, foster a sense of community among the area’s young professionals, strengthen awareness of the talented, young leaders in our area, and enhance Knoxville’s image as an exciting, compelling city in which young professionals can thrive. Learn more about YPK at ypknox.com.

Knoxville Xfinity Store now offering sign-ups for Internet Essentials Plus and Affordable Connectivity Program

(Knoxville, Tenn.): June 15, 2022 – Assistance is now available at more than 500 Xfinity stores nationwide, including the Knoxville-area locations, for eligible customers who want to sign up for Internet Essentials Plus, a service that includes 100 Mbps speed, a modem, access to millions of WiFi hotspots, and unlimited data for $29.95 per month.

During their visit, eligible customers can also learn how to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to get Internet service for free. Any Xfinity customer who qualifies for ACP can apply their $30 credit toward their monthly Internet and/or Xfinity Mobile bill.

The Knoxville retail locations include 6928 Kingston Pike and 5132 N. Broadway.

In addition, through Project UP, Comcast’s $1B commitment to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities, the company is partnering with its network of thousands of non-profit organizations in communities across the country to increase awareness of, and participation in ACP, while also addressing broadband adoption issues like the lack of digital skills. In the last six months, Comcast has distributed well over $1 million dollars in grants to support dozens of local non-profit organizations, with plans to invest millions more throughout the year.

“We’ve never been more committed to closing the digital divide and helping people get connected to the Internet through Project UP,” said Broderick Johnson, executive vice president, Public Policy and Digital Equity at Comcast. “By working with our partners at all levels of government and within the community, we can accelerate our efforts to ensure everyone has access to the Internet and the skills they need to excel in today’s digital economy.”

In addition to retail, customers can visit www.xfinity.com/acp, www.internetessentials.com, or call 844-389-4681 for more information, to determine eligibility, and sign up. A dedicated ACP Enrollment and Support Center is available from 8AM to 12AM daily, with multi-lingual capabilities to assist anyone interested in the program.

Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most successful private-sector low-income broadband adoption program. For more than a decade, Comcast has worked with trusted community partners, businesses, and government to help millions of low-income households connect to the Internet and the technology they need to participate in the digital world. Since launching in 2011, Internet Essentials has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people to the Internet at home, most for the very first time.

Project UP: Comcast’s $1 Billion Commitment to Advance Digital Equity

Comcast has been committed to connecting people to the Internet and the technology and skills they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world for over a decade. Looking toward the next ten years, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news about Comcast’s ongoing efforts to advance digital equity visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on connectivity, aggregation, and streaming with 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

Bite Squad extends & makes permanent gas program to assist delivery drivers

Knoxville, TN – Bite Squad, the local on-demand food delivery service, has announced it has extended and has made permanent a gas program initiative to support its delivery drivers. Gasoline prices continue to surge in Knoxville and around the country with new record highs nearly every day.

Bite Squad’s GasCard program, originally implemented in March, gives drivers 5% off on gas from all major gas stations. The GasCard is located within the driver app, allowing them to receive the five-percent discount immediately after purchasing a card.

Chris Barnes, director of driver experience, says the record-high gas prices are directly impacting drivers. “We talk with our drivers every day, and they tell us the help with paying for gas is essential. We’re glad we can make our GasCard permanent while others are ending their assistance programs.”

Bite Squad operates an online ordering technology platform, providing delivery, carryout and dine-in options. Bite Squad connects local restaurants and grocery stores to diners in underserved U.S. markets. It is a convenient way to discover, order and receive great food and other products from local restaurants, national chains and grocery stores. As of March 31, 2021, Bite Squad and its other delivery services operate in approximately 1,000 cities in the U.S.

SimplyBank partners with Brightbridge Capital to deploy $7 million to East Tennessee small businesses

Chattanooga, Tenn. -- Locally-owned SimplyBank is partnering with BrightBridge Capital in Chattanooga to provide $7 million in funding to small businesses throughout east Tennessee, including the greater-Knoxville area. SimplyBank – which is under contract to launch a Knoxville branch off N. Northshore Drive this year – is providing a line of credit that BrightBridge will maximize to support entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses seeking to grow.

SimplyBank CEO John Owen said, “We value BrightBridge’s deep network of relationships and ability to craft solutions for underserved commercial customers which may otherwise struggle to find capital. Nontraditional ourselves, we appreciate partners who think outside the box to get results.”

BrightBridge will work to provide funding and technical support to small business owners and entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional banking relationships. BrightBridge CEO Bill Pollard noted, “As a community development financial institution (CDFI), our mission to assist and expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities is at the heart of all we do. We maximize our network of community lenders, investors and financial service providers to support this mission. Having a

partner like SimplyBank that understands the challenges of our clients is greatly appreciated and we look forward to the difference we’ll make together.”

SimplyBank President Cara Roberson said, “As an entrepreneurial bank with a 130-year history of innovation, our partnership with BrightBridge to better serve this area is a natural fit. We understand East Tennessee’s commercial lending needs well and see firsthand the gap that BrightBridge fills for economic growth and expansion. Making this collaboration work for businesses seeking funding was important to our team and we are excited to make a new $7 million line of credit available. We look forward to seeing the results for many years to come.”

Interested small businesses and start-ups are encouraged to find out more about potential funding and technical assistance by calling BrightBridge’s Alice Krug at 423-424-4220.

For more information about commercial financing from SimplyBank, contact Rex Rutledge, directing development officer, at 423-999-0065 or email him at rex.rutledge@simply.bank.

Tailgating For a Cause hosts 11th annual Knoxville Brewfest on June 18 to benefit CureDuchenne

Newport Beach, Calif. (June 7, 2022) – The 11th annual Knoxville Brewfest will be held at The World’s Fair Park Lake on Saturday, June 18, to benefit CureDuchenne, a leading global nonprofit focused on finding and funding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The event, presented by Tailgating For A Cause, will bring together more than 50 brewers with more than 200 craft beers to sample.

Attendees will enjoy the best of craft beer, live entertainment, food trucks and more. Tickets are $50 each and will include admission into the event, a commemorative tasting glass, festival map and beer tasting from all breweries. Designated Driver tickets are also available for $20 each. This year’s event will include two sessions to limit capacity, one from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and one from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Tennessee Amphitheater.

“We’re excited to bring back the Knoxville Brewfest again this year to benefit CureDuchenne,” says Kent Oglesby, co-founder, Born & Raised Productions. “Our event will bring together the best brewers to our local community for a day of good beer, fun and friends, while also helping to support an organization that is helping to find and fund a cure for Duchenne.”

Knoxville Brewfest has raised more than $60,000 for CureDuchenne over the past three years.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy, is a fatal genetic disease affecting roughly 1 in 5,000 male births. Individuals with Duchenne are typically diagnosed as toddlers, lose the ability to walk in their early-teens and often succumb to the disease in their mid-20s. CureDuchenne is a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Since it was created in 2003, CureDuchenne has raised over $50 million for research and to develop impactful programs that help families living with Duchenne and has funded 15 research projects that have advanced to clinical trials.“We are so grateful for the continued support from Knoxville Brewfest and the generosity of

the greater Knoxville community,” said Debra Miller, founder and CEO of CureDuchenne.

“Duchenne is a relentless muscle wasting disease and we cannot rest until there are treatments

– and, ultimately, cures – for all patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We turn to the

community for support through events like this to help us in our fight. Together, we WILL cure

Duchenne.”

For more details on the event, registration, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please

visit knoxvillebrewfest.com. For more information on CureDuchenne, please visit

cureduchenne.org.

‘Game On Against Cancer’ set for June 17

Knoxville, Tenn. – June 2022 – Tickets are on sale now for ‘Game On Against Cancer,’ an event featuring games, music, food, beverages and a silent auction to benefit local cancer patients in need. Local celebrities will gather for this annual fundraiser benefiting Thompson Cancer Survival Center, a member of Covenant Health. The event will take place Friday, June 17, at The Wakefield Corporation from 6 – 10 p.m. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which has raised over $650,000 to support the patients and families of Thompson Cancer Survival Center.

Attendees have the opportunity to challenge friends or favorite local celebrity to a game of table tennis, billiards, air hockey, darts, shuffleboard, corn hole or blackjack. A list of local celebrities planning to attend is available at GameOnAgainstCancer.org.

The event is open to the public for $50 per person and tickets are on sale now. Admission includes food, drink, and game play with local celebrities for a good cause.

Scott Warwick, president and chief administrative officer of Thompson Cancer Survival Center, said, “The community’s support and involvement in this fundraiser is always inspiring. Last year alone, we were able to provide financial assistance to more than 800 patients for medications, medical supplies, housing, and transportation needs. These funds are an invaluable resource to our patients who are trying to manage the physical, emotional, and financial impact of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Warwick continued, “Thompson Cancer Survival Center’s goal is to continue advancing the vision originally cast by the center’s founder, B. Ray Thompson. We strive to offer the highest quality of care available for the people of East Tennessee by providing the most advanced diagnostic tools and treatment methods and hiring an expert multidisciplinary team of providers.”

Erin Wakefield, CEO of The Wakefield Corporation and 2022 ‘Game On Against Cancer’ committee chair, said, “I lost my father to cancer six years ago. Now, I work to honor his legacy both at The Wakefield Corporation and in my community volunteer work. That includes my service as a member of the Thompson Cancer Survival Center Foundation board of directors. Cancer has touched all of our lives in some way and I want to do my part to help those battling the disease here in East Tennessee.”

Tickets for ‘Game On Against Cancer’ are on sale to the public now. Admission is $50 per person and includes unlimited game play, one celebrity match game token, one food ticket and one wine/beer ticket. Additional celebrity matches can be purchased for $10 each. A Date Night package is available for $125, which includes admission for two, six celebrity match game tokens, six wine/beer drink tickets and six food tickets.

Attendees can use their food tickets to enjoy items from food trucks, including CJ’s Tacos Food Truck, Frussie’s Deli Mobile Truck, Bayou Bites Food Truck and Good Hombres Food Truck.

To learn more or purchase tickets, visit GameOnAgainstCancer.org or call 865-531-5226.

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show adds new element to show this summer

PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE (June 8, 2022) – At the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud this summer, more shenanigans and fun take flight -- literally! -- when the mayor brings the sheriff a new high-flying contraption he calls a billy-copter to the Smokies to keep up to date with the goings-on between the Hatfield and McCoy families. Naturally, hilarity ensues as the mountain-style, mountain-built machine appears during the show, just the latest fun that has made this dinner show a favorite of guests to the area for a dozen seasons now.

In addition to the new show-stopping apparatus making its debut in 2022, the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud has all the elements needed for an entertaining night out in Pigeon Forge. Guests become part of one of the longest-running feuds in history, as they take sides with either the Hatfield family or the McCoy family throughout a two-hour journey that begins with a homestyle feast. The show features side-splitting comedy, musical acts with sensational singing, dancing and mountain clogging, and some “explosive” stunts that give the show a true bang!

In addition to the talents and antics of the two families, the town sheriff and mayor entertain guests in an adventure that includes competitions and stunts on the “mountainside” and in the 24-foot deep swimming hole that is part of the show set. Not only are folks guaranteed to laugh as they become part of the feudin’ family fun, but everyone is sure not to leave hungry!  That’s because the experience starts off with an all-you-can-eat meal served up with all the best Southern favorites. The meal begins with creamy soup and hot homemade bread. Next, country classics like fried chicken, open pit pulled pork barbeque, mashed potatoes, buttery corn on the cob, and coleslaw are served. A specialty dessert and unlimited Pepsi® products, tea or coffee complete the meal.

As guests finish up their meals, they might notice some familiar faces on stage as their servers join in on the excitement. From the start, the feud is action packed with contests of musical talents, clogging and dancing, and dozens of imaginative diving stunts. Guests will be amazed as the stage features dancing one minute and then morphs into a pool equipped with boats and diving boards.

Reservations and showtimes are available by calling (865) 908-7469 or at hatfieldmccoydinnerfeud.com. Guests should arrive 45 minutes prior to showtime for dinner.

Ultra Pool Care Squad signs first two franchise agreements in Texas

Knoxville, TN (May 18, 2022) – Ultra Pool Care Squad, a new pool and spa service franchise founded in 2021 by Explore Industries, a worldwide fiberglass pool and pool cover manufacturer, has announced the signing of its first two franchise agreements. The new franchise locations are set to open in San Angelo, TX and New Braunfels, TX in Summer of 2022.

Newly signed franchisees include Slater Chapa, an owner of a contracting, plumbing and pool business in San Angelo, TX, who plans to offer more services to his customers and more opportunities for employees, and Angel Rocha, a pool services operations manager now turned entrepreneur, who aims to leverage his experience in the field and make a positive impact on the New Braunfels, TX community.

“The opportunity to become an Ultra Pool Care Squad franchise owner was something I couldn’t pass up, as pool ownership has grown substantially over the last few years, resulting in a demand for ongoing pool care and maintenance,” said Slater Chapa, the franchise owner of the San Angelo, TX location. “As the first Ultra Pool Care Squad franchisee, it also gives me the chance to make my mark and bring my own experiences to the table to help drive growth and build this brand. Plus, this service offering lets me provide more value to customers and employees of my existing business without having to expand geographically – a huge plus as a business owner.”

Ultra Pool Care Squad provides pool owners with the highest quality care for swimming pools and spas with professional pool experts going above and beyond to make sure the swimming pools and spas they service are clean, healthy, balanced, and inviting. Ultra Pool Care Squad eliminates any doubts that the pool is safe to enjoy by thoroughly and expertly servicing each pool on a weekly basis, and providing over-the-top customer communication to elevate the brand experience and meet the needs of new and long-time pool owners.

“We are happy to welcome these new franchise owners with different professional backgrounds and experience to Ultra Pool Care Squad, as it is a testament to how this franchise opportunity is a perfect fit for many types of entrepreneurs,” said Amy Lawhorne, Chief Operating Offer of Ultra Pool Care Squad. “We expect Slater and Angel will leverage their strengths to provide the highest quality care, going above and beyond, to meet the needs of new and long-time pool owners in the San Angelo and New Braunfels communities.”

With a low initial investment, no brick-and-mortar store and minimal employees, the franchise is attracting existing and aspiring business owners who resonate with its eye-catching brand, monthly recurring revenue model, and turnkey pathway into the pool and spa service industry.

Ultra Pool Care Squad provides franchise owners with top-notch, thorough education and time-tested processes to successfully operate their franchise business. In addition to an extensive, turnkey marketing strategy and discounted pricing through approved vendors, all franchise owners will attend the 11-day Ultra Pool Care Squad University, featuring an interactive classroom and scenario-based, immersive training.

Due to Ultra Pool Care Squad’s industry relationships, franchise owners also have access to other channels of revenue they can choose to add to their business in addition to pool servicing, including the installation and maintenance of pool covers and replacement of liners. Pool equipment, branded chemicals and delivery/spa setup will be added optional channels over time.

For more information about Ultra Pool Care Squad’s franchise opportunities, visit https://upcsfranchise.com/.

ABOUT ULTRA POOL CARE SQUAD:

Founded in 2020 as a company under the Explore Industries umbrella, Ultra Pool Care Squad’s mission is to provide pool owners with the highest quality care for their swimming pools & spas. The franchise owners are professional pool experts who go above and beyond to make sure the swimming pools & spas they service are clean, healthy, balanced, and inviting so families can enjoy worry-free backyard recreation. The Ultra Pool Care Squad cares for pools and their people.

Golfweek Magazine names two Fairfield Glade Golf Courses to the Top Five 2022 Best Courses You Can Play in Tennessee

Fairfield Glade, TN, June 8, 2022- Fairfield Glade is pleased to announce that Stonehenge Golf Course has been ranked #2 and Heatherhurst Brae Golf Course #5 as Golfweek Magazine’s “Best Courses You Can Play in Tennessee.” Each year, Golfweek Magazine ranks golf courses state-by-state.  Stonehenge Golf Club has placed in the top five over 10 years and this is the 4th year in the past six to have the Brae course at Heatherhurst included on this prestigious list. This is the 25th year of Golfweek’s rankings. Golfweek has golf course raters who travel the world playing and ranking courses each year. The golf course rankers have 10 criteria’s to go by:

1. Ease and intimacy of routing

2. Quality of feature shaping

3. Natural setting and overall land plan

4. Interest of greens and surrounding contours

5. Variety and memorability of par 3s

6. Variety and memorability of par 4s

7. Variety and memorability of par 5s

8. Basic quality of conditioning

9. Landscape and tree management

10. “Walk in the park” test. (This is the degree of which the course ultimately is worth spending a half-day on as a compelling outdoor experience.)

See rankings:  https://golfweek.usatoday.com/lists/best-public-golf-courses-2022-state-by-state-ranking-public-access/

Stonehenge Golf Course gets its name from walls of native stone found throughout the 6549yard, par 72 layouts. Natural rock outcroppings come into play on several holes, with a 15-foot layered stone retaining wall running along the left and rear of the signature downhill par 3, 14th hole. The course is proud to feature bent grass tees, greens and fairways and hosts the Tennessee Senior State Open, Tennessee Golf Association Father-Son Championship and the The Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open. The Brae Course at Heatherhurst, named for the Scottish term for a hillside by a body of water is a 6,499 yard par 72 layout designed by Gary Roger Baird. The front 9 provides the most challenge, including the 4th hole which requires two forced carries over Otter Creek to a green perched on top of a beautiful, stacked stone wall. The back 9 is unique in that it has three par 3’s, three par 4’s and three par 5’s.  The par 5 10th hole is the signature hole playing 562 yards downhill to the green positioned at the edge of beautiful Lake Dartmoor. The Brae is the only course in the area to feature Zoysia fairways that provide unmatched fairway conditions.

Fairfield Glade is home to five beautiful championship golf courses and is open to the public for an amazing golf experience. To book a tee time at any of Fairfield Glade’s five golf courses, you may call Central Tee Times at (931) 484-3729. Golf package information can be found on the Fairfield Glade web site:   www.fairfieldgladeresort.com/golf-package-info

Regions Bank introduces InvestPath Digital Advisor

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – June 7, 2022 – Regions Bank on Tuesday announced the launch of InvestPathTM, a digital advisor from Regions Investment Solutions that gives new, emerging, and experienced investors an intuitive and cost-effective online option for building and managing their portfolios while receiving personalized support.

InvestPath offers clients a hybrid approach to investing that blends the convenience of technology with the experience and insights of Regions Investment Solutions financial advisors. An InvestPath account may be opened with a low minimum investment of $5,000 and offers a straightforward annual fee of 0.70%. A Regions Investment Solutions financial advisor is assigned to every account – a key differentiator for InvestPath clients – and these advisors are available to work with clients on financial planning and investment strategies to help reach their goals.

“Many people are interested in investing, but they may not feel confident in building their portfolio, or they are unsure of how to get started. InvestPath is a practical solution, both for the emerging investor as well as current investors, who want to balance the convenience of technology with the personalized guidance of a financial advisor,” said Jim Nonnengard, head of Regions Investment Services. “We often tell our clients that the time to begin planning your financial future is now – even if you are years away from retirement or major life events like sending a child to college, buying a new home, or other goals. InvestPath further enables our financial advisors to offer a seamless customer experience to support our clients’ financial goals at all stages of life.”

As a client sets up an InvestPath account, they select their risk preferences, timelines, personal goals, and more. InvestPath will recommend one of five established asset allocation models based on the client’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences. Portfolios leverage low-cost Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to gain desired exposures and create diversification.

InvestPath’s digital platform gives clients 24/7 access to their investments with the ability to review positions, access statements, and understand their full financial picture. Clients can open and access their InvestPath account via Regions Online Banking or by connecting with a Regions Investment Solutions financial advisor.

“Convenience and customization are key drivers in the innovation of our new digital advisor solution,” said Bill Ritter, head of Regions Wealth Management. “InvestPath allows our Wealth Management team to continue providing a best-in-class experience based on individual clients’ preferences. This is another important way we are deepening relationships with current clients while also welcoming new clients who can benefit from diversified financial strategies and more options to help them reach their investment goals.”

To see InvestPath at work, a video overview is available at this link. Additional information on InvestPath is also available through this link on Regions.com.

Regions Investment Solutions offers comprehensive investment services at Regions Bank locations through a network of 250 financial advisors serving more than 1,200 Regions branches across the bank’s retail footprint in the South, Midwest, and Texas.

About Regions Financial Corporation

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $164 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest, and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,300 banking offices and more than 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

Regions Investment Solutions is a marketing name of Cetera Investment Services. Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFG STC Insurance Agency LLC), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. InvestPath™ is a trademark of Cetera Investment Services, LLC. A diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market. Individuals affiliated with Cetera firms are either Registered Representatives who offer only brokerage services and receive transaction-based compensation (commissions), Investment Adviser Representatives who offer only investment advisory services and receive fees based on assets, or both Registered Representatives and Investment Adviser Representatives, who can offer both types of services.

Investment products are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed, are not deposits, are not insured by any government entity, are not a condition of any banking activity, and may lose value.

MEDIC Asking Local Nonprofits to Help Save Our Summer

Knoxville, Tenn. – MEDIC is teaming up with the United Way of Greater Knoxville to collaborate with local nonprofits through August 31 to promote blood donation, stabilize the blood product inventory, and provide mini-grants for the assistance.

All local nonprofit organizations are eligible to participate. Nonprofits will promote and recruit blood product donors for MEDIC through the summer. Donors will complete a “voting” card that will be counted by MEDIC staff. The nonprofit with the most votes is eligible to win a mini-grant in the amount of $5000 at the end of the summer. MEDIC and UWGK are also offering two mini-grants in June and July worth $1000 each. Donors who choose to donate on a bus can email their vote to kaltman@medicblood.org.

“We see an increase in demand and a decrease in donations through the summer months leaving our inventory unstable and traditionally at critical levels,” said director of communications Kristy Altman. “This collaboration is a great way to give back to our fellow nonprofit partners while stocking the shelves.”

“Our organization is excited for this partnership and the opportunity to support local nonprofits and our community this summer,” says United Way of Greater Knoxville President & CEO Matt Ryerson. “Donating blood is one of the easiest ways for our neighbors to give back, and now they can support their favorite nonprofit while doing it.”

MEDIC is the primary blood product provider for major area hospitals including Blount Memorial Hospital, Covenant Healthcare System, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Tennova, and the University of Tennessee Medical Center along with other regional centers.

As a reminder, the blood on the shelves right now is the blood used in an emergency. It takes at least three days for collected red blood cells to be tested and processed and ready for distribution to hospitals.

Appointments are preferred, but walk-in donors are welcome. Donors can call 865-524-3074 to schedule their appointment or visit medicblood.org/donate to search for a drive closest to them and schedule their appointment. For more information on MEDIC Regional Blood Center, please visit our website at www.medicblood.org or contact Director of Communications Kristy Altman at Kaltman@medicblood.org or by phone at 865-805-2008.

About MEDIC Regional Blood Center

MEDIC was established in 1958 by Carl Nelson, MD, under the sponsorship of the Knoxville Academy of Medicine. MEDIC is a nonprofit organization and offers a Blood Coverage Program covering members’ blood supplier processing fees at any hospital in the country. MEDIC is an accredited member of aabb (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) and America’s Blood Centers (ABC). MEDIC is a member of the Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS), Blood Centers of America (BCA), and the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps (BERC). The center adheres to all blood product safety regulations established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is licensed by the FDA and the State of Tennessee. MEDIC is an independent blood center and is not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Today, MEDIC Regional Blood Center is the provider of blood and blood-related products for the 24 area hospitals in 22 counties in East Tennessee and Southeastern Kentucky.

Sevier County days at Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country to benefit Sevier County Food Ministries

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Tuesday, June 7, 2022) — Summer must be on the way! School is out, temperatures are quickly climbing, and a popular promotion has returned to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. During Sevier County Days, anyone who lives or works in Sevier County can visit their favorite hometown theme park or water park for just $5, while also helping their neighbors at the same time.

Sevier County Days takes place June 13-19 at Dollywood theme park and now-June 12 at Dollywood’s Splash Country water park. Residents and workers in the county can visit the award-winning parks for a $5 donation to Sevier County Food Ministries. All proceeds from the visits go to the food ministries, helping the non-profit provide support within the community.

“We are always proud to partner with Jim Davis and his phenomenal staff at Sevier County Food Ministries,” said Carol Agee, Dollywood Community Affairs and Philanthropy Manager. “As kids are now out of school for summer, demand for the food ministries increases because those school lunches aren’t available for families who need them. We encourage families in that situation to visit the food ministry because the team there does an exemplary job of assisting those in the community who need it. We partner with them because their mission of taking care of families is part of who we are as well.”

To take advantage of Sevier County Days, Sevier County residents must present a state- or federally-issued photo identification with a valid Sevier County zip code at any designated Dollywood (June 13-19) or Dollywood’s Splash Country (now- June 12) ticket booth. Those who work in Sevier County but are not residents must present proof of employment as well as a state- or federally-issued photo identification matching the paycheck stub. Full details and eligible zip codes also are available by visiting Dollywood.com/SevierCountyDays.

As an added bonus for making the donation to the food ministries, the Sevier County Days ticket receives full upgrade value toward the purchase of a 2022 season pass.

Dollywood first started giving to Sevier County Food Ministries in 1998. Since that time, total contributions to the food ministry are more than $1.4 million. In addition to monetary support, Sevier County Food Ministries always accepts passionate volunteers ready to serve others through their efforts. For more information about how to volunteer, please visit seviercountyfoodministries.org.

Dollywood celebrates a year full of exceptional experiences, with each season unlike the next. It’s the perfect year for a season pass, as guests will want to return throughout the year to enjoy it all. Up next, guests can enjoy Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration (June 18-August 7), which includes the return of Sweet Summer Nights—the evening fireworks and drone show—as well as Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora. Thousands of pumpkins glow to life as part of the Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 23-Oct. 29), and Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 5- Jan. 1, 2023) celebrates the spirit of the season.

For more information about Dollywood, please visit dollywood.com or download the Dollywood App.

UScellular donates $86,000 in wireless hotspots and service to YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (June 7, 2022) – To help provide equitable learning and keep local youth connected, UScellular has donated 75 wireless hotspots and two years of service to YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley as part of the After School Access Project, which provides assistance to nonprofits that support youth with safe internet access for homework and education. The donation provides a total value of $86,000 for the organization.

Seth Naekel and Shelby Kleiner hold hotspots donated by UScellular as part of the After School Access Project.
Seth Naekel and Shelby Kleiner hold hotspots donated by UScellular as part of the After School Access Project.

“The success of students in the communities we serve is important to us at UScellular,” said Thomas White, director of sales for East Tennessee. “Connecting people and communities is our mission and the After School Access Project is just one way that we’re helping ensure students have the reliable access they need to grow and pursue their dreams.”

Through the After School Access Project, the company has pledged to donate up to $13 million in hotspots and service to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet in its markets. To date, the company has donated more than 3,800 hotspots, a value of $3.7 million, to its communities through this initiative. Eligible 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations can apply at AfterSchoolAccessProject.com.

With a mission to eliminate racism and empower women, YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley has been a leading force of community change since 1899. The organization serves six East Tennessee counties with academic enrichment, youth leadership training, violence prevention, housing and services for victims of domestic violence. YWCA’s Phyllis Wheatley Center serves hundreds of middle and high school youth through innovative, life-changing after-school and summer programs.

“The students we serve are among Knoxville’s most vulnerable and are oftentimes low-income and at high risk for dropping out of school,” said Rachel Haverkamp, CEO of YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley. “Access to the internet creates opportunities for educational success and a chance to improve our neighborhoods and communities. Our organization will use the hotspots to support on-site programming, create opportunities for off-site learning and exploration and support students’ independent and group work at home.”

Hotspots are stand-alone Wi-Fi networks that can connect several devices at once wirelessly and have proven to be a vital tool for youth to access the internet, study and complete homework. The hotspots provided through After School Access Project connect to UScellular’s network to provide high-speed connectivity for youth throughout East Tennessee.

UScellular is focused on addressing gaps in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and is committed to connecting more than 200,000 of tomorrow’s innovators each year with the resources they need today to help shape future opportunities. Since 2009, UScellular has donated nearly $21.4 million along with countless experiences and technology items to nonprofits across the country. For more information about the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, please go to newsroom.uscellular.com/community.

About UScellular

UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.

RAM set for free 2-day clinic in Knoxville, June 25-26

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (June 6, 2022) – Remote Area Medical – RAM® – a major nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics delivering free, quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need – will hold a free, two-day clinic on June 25-26. RAM will be set up at the Central Baptist Bearden, located at 6300 Deane Hill Dr., Knoxville, TN 37919, for two days only. This clinic is in collaboration with Central Baptist Bearden.

All RAM services are free, and no ID is required. Free dental, vision and medical services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The patient parking lot will open no later than 11:59 p.m. (midnight) on Friday night, June 24, and remain open for the duration of the clinic. Once in the parking lot, additional information regarding clinic opening processes and next steps will be provided. Clinic doors open at 6 a.m.

Due to time constraints, patients should be prepared to choose between DENTAL and VISION services. Medical services are offered, in addition to dental or vision services, free to every patient attending the clinic. All patients will be required to wear a face covering and must undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering the clinic. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530.

Additional Information:

  • Services available at the free RAM clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eye exams, glaucoma testing, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women's health exams and general medical exams. HIV, Hepatitis C testing and free take-home colon cancer screening test kits will also be available.

  • In some situations outside of RAM’s control, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations or other circumstances, the parking lot may open earlier or a smaller number of patients may be served. RAM encourages everyone who would like services, especially dental services, to arrive as early as possible. Clinic closing time may vary based on each service area’s daily capacity. For more information, please see RAM’s FAQ page.

  • About Remote Area Medical: RAM is a major nonprofit organization that operates pop-up clinics delivering free, quality dental, vision and medical services to individuals in need who do not have access to, or cannot afford, a doctor. Founded in 1985, RAM has treated more than 888,000 individuals with $181.5 million worth of free healthcare and veterinary services. Since its foundation, nearly 183,000 volunteers – comprised of licensed dental, vision, medical and veterinary professionals, as well as general support staff – have supported RAM’s mission.

Free Debt Relief Legal Advice Clinic set for June 25, registration deadline June 17

The Knoxville Bar Association and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, in partnership with Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) will host a Debt Relief Legal Advice Clinic for pre-screened individuals on Saturday, June 25, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Public Defender’s Community Law Office (1101 Liberty Street, Knoxville TN 37919). The advice clinic will be available to qualified individuals in Knox, Blount, Loudon, and Sevier Counties. Attorneys will volunteer to conduct initial meetings with the clients to discuss their situations and options.

Qualification for the free services will be income-based, with pre-screening by LAET. The clinic clients may also be eligible for free bankruptcy services.

Individuals who live in Blount, Knox, Loudon, or Sevier County may sign up by contacting the LAET at (865) 637-0484. Cut off for registration is June 17.

The Knoxville Bar Association is a non-profit corporation organized to work for the improvement and increased effectiveness of the legal profession and the administration of justice. The Association, which has 1,944 members, offers continuing legal education and service to the community through programs such as the Lawyer Referral & Information Service, Legal Advice Clinics and LawLine OnLine. Additional public service information may be found at the Association's website at www.knoxbar.org.

Knoxville Area Association of Realtors Furthering Commitment to Enhance Community

KNOXVILLE, TN (June 2, 2022) – Next week, the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors (KAAR) will be participating in the 2022 REALTOR Volunteer Days, giving local Realtors an opportunity to showcase the time and effort they’ve dedicated to Knoxville and East Tennessee community. In partnership with the National Association of Realtors, Realtors in KAAR’s 12 county jurisdiction are being encouraged to join in on the nationwide philanthropic initiative while maximizing the impact of their volunteer time.

During Volunteer Week, KAAR members will be participating in a wide spread of community service projects. From working with Habitat for Humanity, KARM, Mission of Hope, and Emerald Youth Foundation, to volunteering at Young-Williams Animal Center, cleaning the river with IJAMS, and making care packages for Ukrainian refugees through Operation Inasmuch, KAAR, and its members, will be giving back to the

community they call home. The association will also have a tent at the second annual SoKno Pride Festival on June 11, discussing fair housing with attendees.

“Across the country, almost 66% of all Realtors volunteer monthly in their community. Giving back is part of who we are as both people and as professionals,” said Lyle Irish, KAAR CEO. “Together with NAR, we encourage local Realtors who have a heart for service and a passion for giving back to participate in one of the many opportunities available to them.”

As part of Realtor Volunteer Days, which will be held the week of June 4-12, NAR is encouraging associations, brokerages and Realtors nationwide to organize and participate in a local volunteer activity of their choice, and log their hours in the Realtors Are Good Neighbors program.

Visit Knoxville announces return of Bike Boat Brew & Bark

Visit Knoxville is pleased to announce the return of Bike Boat Brew & Bark to take place June 4, 2022 from 10am – 3pm at Knoxville Adventure Collective (900 Volunteer Landing).

Bike Boat Brew & Bark celebrates the outdoor adventurer, the dog lover, the craft beer enthusiast, the local and the tourist looking to discover a secret in Knoxville’s urban wilderness. This annual event has become popular with visitors and locals alike - after all, Knoxville is a bike, boat, brew and bark friendly city! It’s a place where you can ride your bike, bring your dog and explore Knoxville in a new way on this special day! Then live it, experience it, and continue to explore it all year long! We’ll show you how at Knoxville Adventure Collective on the Tennessee River!

“Bike Boat Brew & Bark is an exciting event that speaks to a wide variety of interests,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “We promote Knoxville as a nature-loving-adventure-seeking-artsy-kinda-town, and this is a great opportunity for both visitors and locals to explore the greenways and waterways, experience breweries on the Ale Trail, and learn how to enjoy all the city has to offer year-round.”

Most of the activities are free to the public, some are paid experiences, and some events require registration. Food and beverages available for purchase. Event shuttle provided by K.I.S.S. Caboose. Interactive Event Booths include the following: Knox County Parks & Recreation, Young Williams Animal Center, Volunteer Princess, B97.5, Visit Knoxville Visitors Center, Knoxville Adventure Collective, and Adopt a Golden Knoxville, and frozen treats from Kona Ice.

For a full list of Bike Boat Brew & Bark Activities & Registration, vistit https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

ACTIVITIES WITH NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED: 

James White’s Fort

10am – 3pm: Free self-guided tours and 1790’s re-enactors onsite demonstrating

Blount Mansion

11am – 3pm: Free admission

City of Knoxville Parks & Recreation

Open session 15-minute Yoga classes from 11am – 3pm (2nd Level near waterfall)

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

10am – 3pm: Offering $10 burgers, $10 steak sandwiches, and Local Craft Beer

Knoxville Adventure Collective

10am – 3pm: Offering e-bike and disc golf demos. See below for additional activities that require registration.

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

10am – 5pm: ​Free admission & Scavenger Hunt

ACTIVITIES WITH REGISTRATION REQUIRED:

Legacy Parks Guided Hike to Morningside Park

10am - Noon

Just minutes from downtown, Morningside Park features an 18-hole disc golf course, gently rolling terrain, large shade trees, and plenty of open space and play areas. Join Carol Evans and you'll walk from the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure along the waterfront to the Morningside Greenway where we’ll loop through the park and visit the Alex Haley Heritage Square located at the northwest end of the park. Be sure to bring water and wear good walking shoes for this 3-mile hike. To register, vistit https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

Vol Landing Riverwalk with Historian Jack Neely

10:15am – 12:30pm

Join historian Jack Neely for a 2-hour Vol Landing Riverwalk tour.  Ever notice those historical markers along Volunteer Landing? They tell a non-chronological story of soldiers, authors, and sailors who had something to do with Knoxville's waterfront since 1791, connecting Cherokee chiefs to the Civil War to the Tennessee Vols. Jack Neely, historian of the Knoxville History Project, did the research for those markers back in the 1990s, and will help tell the stories, including that of Vagabondia, the long-vanished riverfront home of author Frances Hodgson Burnett that inspired the title of one of her early novels. It was surprisingly near the ramshackle houseboat home of Cornelius Suttree, the stoic protagonist of a very different novel by Cormac McCarthy. This year, Jack will also talk about the role the riverfront played in the 1982 World's Fair. To register, vistit https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

Bike Walk Knoxville Guided Urban Bike Ride

10am – Noon

Explore Knoxville's greenway system and bike routes on this urban bike ride with Bike Walk Knoxville. This 2-hour round-trip ride will start and end at UT Gardens and travel along the greenways, downtown, and over into South Knox. We will stop along the way at Volunteer Landing at Knoxville Adventure Collective, Suttree Landing Park, and World's Fair Park in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair. To register, vistit https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

Downtown Knoxville Walk with Alan Sims

10:30am – 1pm

Enjoy a two- hour stroll around downtown with InsideofKnoxville.com’s Knoxville Urban Guy (AKA Alan Sims). Knoxville’s strong growth has continued in rapid fashion. The walk will explore new businesses and new development in the city, focusing on events of the last year. Also featured will be a brief conversation about the World’s Fair on its 40th anniversary. Enjoy spring in the city and ask that question you’ve always wanted to ask about downtown development and life in the city. (Inside of Knoxville has been a source for downtown information since 2010.) To register, vistit https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

Brewery Slow Rides

Interested in Knoxville’s brewery scene? We would love for you to join some of the Knoxville Area Brewers Association’s member brewers as they showcase Knoxville’s great breweries (see registration link for meet up locations). Representatives from Crafty Bastard Brewery, Clinch River Brewery, Hexagon Brewing Co., Alliance Brewing Co., Fanatic Brewing Company, Elst Brewing and Printshop Brewing Company will partner up and lead round-trip rides from the breweries to Knoxville Outdoor Adventure Collective in a relaxed, slow bike ride.  Riders will be able to see how easy it is to ride and enjoy some of the best local craft beer in Knoxville! Registration required. Space is limited. Meet-up locations vary, see Eventbrite registration for info and meet-up times. To register, vistit https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

Knoxville Adventure Collective

Have you ever wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, e-bikes, disc golf, or Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness via bike? Join Knoxville Adventure Collective during Bike Boat Brew & Bark and learn how!

• 10am - 11am: SUP Open Session

• 10am - 3pm: Discounted Mountain & Greenway Bikes

• 10am - 3pm: E-bike and disc golf demos

• 3pm - 4pm: Kayak Open Session

• 7:15pm: Sunset Paddle

If you’re hungry, grab a beer and a brat and relax under the umbrella tables from 10am – 3pm.

Registration required for most activities. Equipment available for additional discounted cost through Knoxville Adventure Collective. If you have your own equipment, it is free but be sure to register, https://www.visitknoxville.com/bike-boat-brew-bark/activities/.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Roll up your sleeves, bring your friends and get ready to make an impact within our community!  Keep Knoxville Beautiful in partnership with Visit Knoxville’s Bike Boat Brew & Bark, will be hosting a Community Clean up at Second Creek.

Sightseeing Casino Cruise on the Volunteer Princess

What happens in Knoxville stays in Knoxville during this casino cruise! Play blackjack or roulette as our dealers assist you. Take a seat at a table and enjoy a cruise around Knoxville.  Visit our bar on the upper deck and purchase your favorite drink to enjoy while cruising.  If you are hungry, appetizers will be available to purchase. We promise the best cruise in Knoxville. $25 per person.

Casino Cruise Times:

• Noon – 1pm

• 2pm – 3pm

Sunset Dinner Cruise:

• 6pm – 8pm

Volunteer Landing Marina Pontoon Boat Shuttle to Suttree Landing Park

Volunteer Landing Marina is Downtown Knoxville’s only Marina! For Bike Boat Brew & Bark, Volunteer Landing Marina will be offering FREE pontoon boat shuttles round-trip to Suttree Landing Park from 11am – 2pm. Call the marina to reserve at (865) 633-5004.

For more information on these activities and registration links, please visit bikeboatbrewbark.com.

ABOUT VISIT KNOXVILLE

Visit Knoxville (Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau) is the official CVB for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Visit Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private company that works together with the community, business leaders and local and state government to further develop Knoxville as a premier leisure, meetings and travel destination. Tourism is the second highest grossing industry in the state of Tennessee. Knoxville/Knox County annually produces over $1 billion in travel spending. For more information, visit www.visitknoxville.com.

Realty Trust Group and Ponder advises Nicklaus Children’s Health System in deal with Steward Health Care

(Miami, FL - April 2022) Realty Trust Group (“RTG”), a full-service healthcare and life science real estate advisory firm, and Ponder & Co. (“Ponder”), an M&A and capital advisory firm serving more than 150 non-profit hospital and healthcare system clients, recently helped Nicklaus Children’s Health System to close a major deal  with Steward Health Care, LLC. RTG and Ponder provided exclusive advisory and brokerage services for the sale of the former Miami Medical Center property. Their work included a strategic options assessment, advisory on a potential transaction, and negotiation of key business terms. The former Miami Medical Center features 69 beds, and is over 160,000 square feet. This transaction increases Steward’s South Florida network to six hospitals.

“After a thorough process which included the review of multiple options for the sale of the property, Nicklaus Children’s decided to sell to Steward Health,” said Matthew A. Love, President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s. “We look forward to continuing serving children in South Florida and collaborating with Steward, as we do with other health systems in our community.”

RTG and Ponder worked together helping Nicklaus Children’s Health System throughout the transaction. “Nicklaus Children’s and Steward Health are a great combination in South Florida. We’re proud of the role that we played in this partnership between the two organizations and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the quality of care in their communities,” says RTG’s Tom Wittenberg who led the RTG team.

Nicklaus Children’s is the region’s only healthcare system focused exclusively on the care needs of children. The health system includes Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, a 309-bed nonprofit pediatric specialty hospital; a network of nonprofit outpatient and urgent care centers in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties; Pediatric Specialists of America, a nonprofit physician practice subsidiary; and an ambulatory surgery center.

Please visit RTG’s website for more information on their advisory and transaction services.

About Realty Trust Group

Realty Trust Group, LLC (“RTG”) is a healthcare and life science real estate advisory and services firm offering a full spectrum of real estate services including advisory, development, transactions, operations, and compliance.

Since 1998, RTG has helped hospitals, physician groups, and property owners navigate the rapidly changing industry with growth strategies that gain market leadership as well as enhance patient and physician experiences for better delivery of care. Our philosophy is to provide innovative solutions to the complex and challenging issues found in today’s healthcare real estate market. These solutions include strategic campus and facility planning, portfolio optimization, portfolio monetization, project development, leasing, acquisition and disposition services, portfolio management, regulatory compliance, and many other ideas and services. For more information about RTG and our innovative healthcare real estate services, visit  www.realtytrustgroup.com, Facebook, LinkedIn, or call 865-521-0630.

About Ponder & Co.

Ponder & Co. provides M&A and capital advisory services to more than 150 non-profit hospital and healthcare system clients. Ponder has completed more than 250 M&A engagements involving acute and specialty hospitals, senior health and housing facilities, long-term acute care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers and behavioral health facilities. Transactions have ranged from $10 million to $1.5 billion in value.

Ponder’s M&A advisory services include:

●       Strategic option assessments

●       Partnerships, joint ventures and strategic alliances

●       Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures

●       Facilitations Business valuations and fairness opinion

●       Financial modeling

For more information about Ponder and our innovative healthcare real estate services, visit www.ponderco.com, LinkedIn, or call 615.613.0215.

West Town Mall announces exciting new list of retailers and services

KNOXVILLE, TN – West Town Mall announced today the additions of a variety of unique retailers and the first location of a new brand, which are slated to open at East Tennessee’s premier shopping destination in the coming months. The new tenants join an impressive line-up of current retailers, and together they offer an unparalleled shopping experience from start to finish.

Among the new stores, Knoxville based Altar’d State has opened its very first Tullabee location, which focuses on fashionable baby clothing and gifts.

Now open:

  • Tullabee: Knoxville-based Altar’d State has opened its first ever Tullabee location in the West Town Mall, offering shoppers stylish baby clothing featuring bold prints and unique pieces perfect for every occasion. Located beside Journeys.

Coming soon:

  • OFFLINE by Aerie: A lifestyle brand featuring untouched models offering activewear for real life, Aerie’s athleisure pieces are made for movement with soft, luxe fabrics. OFFLINE offers pieces made with sustainable fabrics, supporting a number of charitable causes.

Opening Spring 2022, Located Next to Lucky Brand

  • AS Revival: Another Altar’d State brand, Revival features activewear that’s bold and simple with tank tops, shorts and skirts, offering women an affordable option for their athleisure needs.

Opening Summer 2022, Located Next to Hollister

  • Dry Goods: Dry Goods offers women an ever-changing selection of accessories, clothing and more, featuring today’s newest fashion trends.

Details including specific location onsite, hours of operation, and the latest deals can be found on the West Town Mall website.

About Simon

Simon is a real estate investment trust engaged in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed- use destinations and an S&P 100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE: SPG). Our properties across North America, Europe and Asia provide community gathering places for millions of people every day and generate billions in annual sales.

Andy’s Frozen Custard grand opening in Sevierville

Sevierville, TN – May 27, 2022 – Andy’s Frozen Custard®, the award-winning frozen custard and treat shop, located on Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville, held its ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, May 26. Drive-Thru or walk-up frozen custard shop which features treats like concretes, Jackhammers, malts and milkshakes held a hometown style opening, complete with local Sevierville High School drumline, raffle prizes and coupons for free custard.

The Sevierville Chamber of Commerce as well as invited guests, including co-founders Andy and Dana Kuntz, Andy’s Frozen Custard CEO Tom Kish and owner/operators Tom & Noelle Gass, were on hand to cut the ribbon and officially welcome customers to experience Andy’s Frozen Custard, the nation’s largest frozen custardonly business, with more than 110 company-owned and franchised stores across 14 states.

“We are excited to be part of the Sevierville community and feel fortunate to have been welcomed in so warmly,” said Tom Gass, Andy’s Frozen Custard Franchisee. “Our team is growing the brand into East Tennessee, because we believe the region has not experienced custard like ours. The Sevierville location is our first and if it’s any indication, East Tennessee is in for a treat!”

A quick-service frozen dessert destination with a drive-thru, Andy’s is famous for its Made Fresh Hourly™ frozen custard, Baked Fresh Daily toppings, hand-rolled waffle cones, concretes, Jackhammers™, sundaes, floats and malts. Also available is Andy’s Anywhere™, hand-packed, hard-frozen pints, quarts, Pick 6, and specialty items available for those who want Andy’s Anytime at home, at work and at special events.

Andy’s Frozen Custard is located at 852 Dolly Parton Parkway, and open from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Customers can download the Andy’s Frozen Custard app to join the Yum Squad loyalty club, recently named one of America’s Best Loyalty Programs 2022, by Newsweek magazine. Learn more about Andy’s Sevierville location on Instagram (@andys.sevierville) and Facebook (@AndysSeviervilleTNDollyPartonParkway ) or visit

www.eatandys.com.

About Andy’s Frozen Custard

Founded in 1986 in Osage Beach, Missouri by Andy’s parents John and Carol Kuntz, Andy’s Frozen Custard has been providing the freshest frozen custard in the business for 36 years, giving ice cream the “cold shoulder” by scooping, mixing and presenting handcrafted frozen custard treats with speed and a smile. With a focus on product quality, customer service and community involvement, Andy’s has grown into the nation’s largest frozen custard-only business, with more than 2,000 employees and 110 company-owned and franchised stores across 14 states proudly serving the World’s Finest Frozen Custard. For more information or for details about franchising opportunities, visit www.eatandys.com.

Jazz and Cocktails fundraiser to feature Taber Gable Trio

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra will hold its annual fundraiser, Jazz and Cocktails, with live music from the Taber Gable Trio at an historic 10,000-square-foot private estate.

The event will be held Sunday, June 26, at Maple Grove Estate, located on 15 acres at 8800 Westland Drive in Knoxville. Attendees can stroll the grounds and enjoy live jazz, wine and light appetizers.

“We’re enthusiastic about this performance from the Taber Gable Trio,” said Vance Thompson, director of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. “Attendees will enjoy a great event in a beautiful setting, and the funds support jazz scholarships for East Tennessee youth and our continued programming, as well.”

Taber Gable, a jazz pianist and graduate of The Julliard School, is active in the New York jazz scene as well as in international circles for his captivating live performances and style.

The nonprofit Knoxville Jazz Orchestra is instrumental in keeping jazz music alive in the community for fans and legacy players, as well as setting the stage for upcoming generations of jazz musicians and fans.

“Taber has made quite a name for himself in the jazz world and this event offers a unique opportunity to hear him in an intimate setting,” Thompson said.

Tickets for the event are $100 each. For more information and to order tickets, visit knoxjazz.org/calendar/2022/6/26/jazz-and-cocktails.

Ripken Baseball expands programming in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (May 24, 2022) – Ripken Baseball, the leader in youth sports events, announced they are gaining access to four additional fields in the City of Pigeon Forge. As one of the most sought-after youth sports complexes in the country, Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge will be able to host teams from around the country on 10 total fields, including access to the newly renovated fields at Pigeon Forge’s Wear Farm City Park.

The park’s four fields will be completely upgraded and reimagined prior to the start of the 2023 season. Similar to the original six fields at Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge which opened in 2016, each field at Wear Farm City Park will become a youth replica of famous Major League Baseball parks of the past and present.

Residents of Pigeon Forge will benefit from the renovations as Wear Farm City Park will continue to host tournaments throughout the year on state-of-the-art artificial turf that closely replicates real grass.

“Every year, our teams and their families take home countless fond memories of the Pigeon Forge area when they participate in The Ripken Experience™,” said Cal Ripken, Jr., who co-founded Ripken Baseball with his brother Bill Ripken. “The views are unbelievable and the feeling you have when you experience our complex is special. The demand to play here is through the roof. This is an exciting opportunity to expand and welcome even more baseball families to Pigeon Forge.”

Wear Farm City Park’s four fields will be transformed into youth replicas of the following big league stadiums: St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, and Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. The $3 million renovation project will begin this summer.

“Pigeon Forge’s partnership with Ripken Baseball is a successful one, as demonstrated by the annual increase in demand for the ball fields and the direct impact on our city’s tourism industry due to the many families who visit,” said Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster. “The upgrades to Wear Farm City Park are a win-win for The Ripken Experience™ and our Pigeon Forge residents as these fields bring vast improvements for everyone to enjoy.”

Pigeon Forge residents and local youth teams will enjoy the renovations immediately following completion. The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge’s access to Wear Farm City Park applies primarily to daytime hours during the summer season, allowing the four baseball fields to remain available for Pigeon Forge residents during evenings, weekends, and most Fridays. The addition of artificial turf provides longer days during the winter months (November through early March), earlier year-round start times, and quicker turnaround during the event of rain. Wear Farm City Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The park, which also has soccer and youth football facilities, will continue to host youth baseball leagues.

The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge hosts more than 1,000 teams annually from over 30 states, traveling from as far away as California, Alaska, and overseas. Players’ families, many of whom are first-time visitors to Pigeon Forge, have a significant impact on the Pigeon Forge economy. A 2018 economic impact study attributed $33.8 million in visitor spending to The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge during the facility’s nine-month season that year.

The appeal of Pigeon Forge as a family vacation destination was a major reason the city built the $22.5 million complex and contracted with Ripken Baseball to operate it. During seven seasons of operations, the facility has solidified Pigeon Forge as a major sports tourism destination. In addition, research indicates that 99 percent of those who visit the facility reside outside of Sevier County.

Tournament participants, coaches, and their families contribute to the local economy through overnight lodging stays ticket purchases to area attractions, restaurant dining, and other purchases.

Pigeon Forge is located in Sevier County just six miles from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Since opening its doors in March 2016, more than 5,000 youth baseball teams and 250 high school softball teams have taken to the six fields at The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge. In total, more than 75,000 players and coaches have traveled to play ball on fields that offer unobstructed views of the Great Smoky Mountains, with an additional 1,000 teams expected to travel to the complex for competition in 2022.

The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge is located on a ridge above Pigeon Forge. Each field borrows its design inspiration from current and former ballparks highlighting the professional player progression from the Minor to Major Leagues, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The others are Calfee Park in Pulaski, Va., the oldest park in the Appalachian League; Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., known as “Little Fenway”; Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn., a filming location for the “42” movie about Jackie Robinson; BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge hosts tournaments nine months out of the year and offers year-round branded events in its 14,000-square-foot clubhouse. Tournaments are free to spectators, and parking is free at the complex.

Visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at MyPigeonForge.com and toll-free at 800-251-9100. To learn more about Ripken Baseball and for The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge, visit RipkenBaseball.com.

About Ripken Baseball

Ripken Baseball brings teammates, coaches, and families together through its Big-League Experiences, while teaching the values of the game, and how to play it the right way – the Ripken Way. Recently expanding the best experience in youth sports to satellite locations through Ripken Select Tournaments, Ripken Baseball continues to innovate the game through tournaments, camps, clinics, and spring training at their state-of-the-art baseball and softball facilities – The Ripken Experience™ Aberdeen (Maryland), The Ripken Experience™ Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), and The Ripken Experience™ Pigeon Forge (Tennessee).

Anakeesta announces Lumina Enchanted Night Walk experience

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (May 24, 2022) – Today, Anakeesta announced a brand-new, nighttime immersive experience with Canadian-based multimedia entertainment studio, Moment Factory. The Lumina Night Walk will be the first of its kind in the United States. The stellar journey of discovery will offer the City of Gatlinburg a new nighttime offering unlike anything else in the country. Anakeesta guests will embark on a journey to discover the illuminating wonder of the stars and connect to an imaginative world through the magic of projections, lighting, and music.

“As one of Tennessee’s premier destinations, we strive to bring innovative adventures to our guests and we are thrilled to introduce an incomparable nighttime experience to the country,” said Bob Bentz, Founder and Managing Partner of Anakeesta. “Families and guests of all ages will be captivated by the spectacular state-of-the-art special effects, enchanting storytelling, and more surprises.”

Anakeesta will transform an undeveloped section of the 80+ acre park into an outdoor, multimedia world that awakens the imagination as described by the creative production studio.

Moment Factory’s award-winning experiences are internationally known and have been

commissioned by organizations such as the Singapore Zoo with Rainforest Lumina and the town of Whistler, Canada with Vallea Lumina.

“We are excited to collaborate with Anakeesta, this momentous partnership marks the first Lumina Enchanted Night Walk in the United States and the 15th of an international series,” said Jonathan St-Onge, General Manager of Moment Factory. “Our unique moments of wonder inspire visitors to experience the outdoors like never before. This transformation will enhance the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains and reflect the dazzling night sky. We hope this fantastical outdoor adventure sparks a new interest in Tennessee for visitors.”

“Anakeesta’s continued investment with the Lumina Night Walk will give Gatlinburg visitors an exciting and innovative entertainment option in the evening,” said Mayor Mike Werner of Gatlinburg. “This experience will continue to add to the many reasons that visitors will have to choose Gatlinburg as their vacation destination.”

Guests are encouraged to follow Anakeesta on social media and sign up for emails as the adventure park reveals more details including the name and theme of the Lumina Night Walk, ticket sale dates, annual member sneak previews, and more.

ABOUT ANAKEESTA

Anakeesta is Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s award-winning theme park surrounded by the majestic Smoky Mountains. Anakeesta is a place for adventure and relaxation, exploration and wonder.

A place where people of all ages can discover nature and family entertainment. The exploration begins with a scenic chondola ride or Ridge Rambler adventure vehicle to the summit to enjoy all day, unlimited access. Guests can stroll along the nation’s longest Treetop Skywalk and climb Anavista Tower for 360⁰ views from downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point. Walk meandering pathways in Vista Gardens, a multi-sensory botanical garden featuring whimsical art installations, music, and scenic overlooks.

TreeVenture and BearVenture challenge courses will delight all ages. Innovative culinary creations and mixology await throughout the park. Thrill seekers can add to the adventure with the Dueling Zipline Adventure course, soar on the Rail Runner Mountain coaster and find treasure at Anakeesta Gem Mining. Anakeesta is located at 576 Parkway in Downtown Gatlinburg. To learn more, visit www.Anakeesta.com.

ABOUT MOMENT FACTORY

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Their team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. Headquartered in Montreal, the studio also has other addresses in Tokyo, Paris, New York City and Singapore. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 450 unique projects worldwide, including the Lumina Night Walk series.

Productions span the globe and include such clients as Changi Airport, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, Disney, Arcade Fire, Microsoft, Sony, Boston Museum of Science, Madonna, Cipriani, Universal Studios, the Toronto Zoo and the Reims Cathedral.

Napa Auto Parts makes driving to Dollywood a breeze thanks to parking lot vehicle assistance program

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Tuesday, May 24, 2022) —NAPA AUTO PARTS will serve as the official automotive parts, maintenance and repair partner of Dollywood, one of the nation’s premier family vacation destinations. NAPA also will sponsor the Dollywood parking lot vehicle assistance program, a concierge service to help guests who may experience minor automotive misfortunes during their time at the Pigeon Forge park.

The partnership comes at an opportune time as inflation and rising gas prices begin to affect summer travel. In the recent NAPA AUTO PARTS Road Trip survey commissioned by NAPA AUTO PARTS, nearly half (45%) of Americans who said their summer plans have been impacted by rising gas prices plan to stay closer to home rather than go further away. Sixty-five percent of Americans planning to visit a theme or amusement park in the next 12 months anticipate their travel plans will keep them closer to home, with trips of three hours or less.

Additionally, the survey found that about one-third (32%) of Americans plan to visit a theme park within the next 12 months, and 72% of those visitors expect to travel by an automobile. With automobiles serving as the primary mode of travel for guests, the NAPA AUTO PARTS parking lot service at Dollywood is perfect for anyone who faces a minor auto issue when they return from a day of fun in the park.

“As our first foray into the theme parks and entertainment space, NAPA AUTO PARTS could not be more excited to bring the parking lot vehicle assistance program to life at Dollywood,” said Marti Walsh, vice president, marketing, NAPA AUTO PARTS. “In a year when families need more help than ever on the road, we’re thrilled to make their summer vacations easier and more enjoyable.”

Dollywood guests can find solace knowing the NAPA AUTO PARTS parking lot concierge is ready to help them get back on the road quickly. Should a guest return to their car and find a minor automotive issue—such as flat tires, dead batteries, or lost keys—they can simply wave down a member of the parking team who will dispatch the concierge service to the scene.

“After a day full of making memories with family, the most frustrating thing is returning to the parking lot to find your car won’t start or that you have a flat tire. That’s a memory no one wants,” said Carol Agee, Dollywood Senior Manager for Marketing Partnerships. “NAPA AUTO PARTS is helping us solve these minor inconveniences—although they feel major in the moment—thanks to the parking lot service designed to assist guests with automotive issues they may face.”

NAPA AUTO PARTS, which has a long history of sports sponsorships, enters into the theme park industry for the first time thanks to the brand alliance with Dollywood and its operating partner Herschend Family Entertainment. The sponsorship also includes activations at additional Herschend properties including Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri; Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia; Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia; and Pink Jeep Adventure Tours, with various locations across the U.S.

For more information about Dollywood, please visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood mobile app.

[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a YouGov omnibus survey conducted on behalf of NAPA AUTO PARTS. The survey was conducted online and fielded by YouGov on May 4 and May 5 with a total sample size of 2,568 Americans age 18 and older, 786 of which are likely to visit a theme or amusement park in the next 12 months. The margin of sampling error was +/-1.92 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Comcast announces network expansion in Downtown Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – May 19, 2022 – Comcast today announced it is investing more than $1 million to extend its fiber-rich network and bring fast and reliable gigabit-powered Internet to more residents and businesses in downtown Knoxville.

Comcast has started the network expansion work, installing miles of hybrid-fiber coaxial infrastructure in downtown Knoxville. Upon completion, hundreds of additional residents and businesses in the area will be able to access Xfinity and Comcast Business’s full suite of services, including residential broadband speeds up to 3 gigabits per second (Gbps) and business Internet speeds up to 100 Gbps.

“We understand the positive impact that advanced broadband can have in our communities,” said Jason Gumbs, Regional SVP for Comcast. “We’re proud to further our commitments in Knoxville and we look forward to more opportunities to bring our technologies to East Tennessee.”

For local businesses, Comcast Business offers a suite of connectivity, communications, networking, cybersecurity, wireless, and managed solutions to help organizations of different sizes prepare for what’s next. Powered by the nation’s largest Gig-speed broadband network, and backed by 24/7 customer support, Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and one of the leading service providers to the Enterprise market. Comcast Business has been consistently recognized by industry analysts and associations as a leader and innovator, and one of the fastest growing providers of Ethernet services.

Comcast continues to expand its technologies across East Tennessee. The company recently added new gigabit and high-speed internet service tiers to more areas in East Tennessee and has invested over $700 million in infrastructure across the state over the past three years to bridge the digital divide.

Residents and businesses in Knoxville can visit https://www.xfinity.com/local/tn to see if their address is eligible for service. Prospective customers can also call 1-800-XFINITY to inquire about service and ask about the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Eligible households that enroll in the program can receive $30/month toward their Internet and mobile service ($75/month on Tribal lands). Interested businesses can contact: 866-429-3085 or visit business.comcast.com to learn more.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, Peacock, NBC News, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

Enrichment Federal Credit Union’s Community Enrichment Program

(Oak Ridge, TN): Enrichment Federal Credit Union is living the Credit Union philosophy of people helping people. Beginning in the 2nd quarter of 2021, the Credit Union launched a new community support program that allows its 48,000 members to vote where they want the Credit Union’s charitable contributions to go. Each quarter going forward, the Credit Union has budgeted $25,000 to support 501(c)(3) organizations located in the Credit Union’s eight-county field of membership. Members can go to the Credit Union’s website and vote for their favorite 10 of the approximately 20-25 organizations listed. Each community organization receives a pro-rata amount of funds they received in votes (i.e., 10 percent of the votes receive $2,500) The Credit Union’s website also includes a summary of the mission of each organization. This is part of Enrichment’s philosophy of being a member-owned financial institution. “It’s the members’ Credit Union, and we believe that your membership should include a voice on which community charitable organizations receive the Credit Union’s contributions,” according to Kelley O’Dell, the Credit Union’s Member Experience Manager. “This is just one more way for us to show that we are indeed a member-focused financial institution,” O’Dell stated. For 2021, the Credit Union gave away $75,000 to the charitable organizations listed on the website and have budgeted to giveaway $100,000 for 2022. Enrichment Federal Credit Union headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, will be celebrating its 72nd anniversary this June. On June 13, 1950, ten employees of the gaseous diffusion plant, which enriched uranium, chartered the K-25 Employees Credit Union. In 2007, the Credit Union changed its name to Enrichment Federal Credit Union.

Priority Ambulance awarded new contract for 9-1-1 ambulance service with Cocke County

The Cocke County Commission voted Monday to award Priority Ambulance a new contract to provide exclusive emergency and nonemergency service to the county.

The vote approves a new contract with an initial term of three years that goes into effect July 1 with the possibility of an additional five-year renewal.

Nashville-based First Call Ambulance has served the community with 9-1-1 service since 2012. In October 2021, First Call was purchased by national ambulance company Priority Ambulance, the largest ambulance service provider in Tennessee headquartered in nearby Knox County. The new contract was award to Priority Ambulance and will be managed within its East Tennessee operations, which currently includes 911 service to Loudon County and interfacility service in Knox and Blount counties.

“We are grateful to Cocke County for the trust that it has placed in us as its new ambulance service provider,” said Priority Ambulance Vice President of East Tennessee Operations Rob Webb. “With the new contract, Priority Ambulance will add emergency resources to the community and establish a sustainable foundation for high-quality ambulance services in Cocke County.”

Beginning July 1, Priority Ambulance will staff four ambulances during peak daytime, weekday hours when demand for 911 services is highest – an increase from current staffing levels. The system will also include paramedic supervisors in a quick response vehicle to assist with first response in the county. Priority Ambulance will bring in new ambulances throughout the contract term, and all ambulances in Cocke County will feature the Priority Ambulance brand and logo.

“Priority Ambulance brings an experienced leadership team, a strong regional support structure and a commitment to local community service,” said Webb. “Our East Tennessee team is ready to support the Cocke County employees in implementing the new programs, vehicles and technology in our proposal.”

EMTs and paramedics currently working in the system will continue to serve their community with a seamless transition to Priority Ambulance. The current EMS Director Lindsay Ellison will also continue in the system.

Priority Ambulance is now hiring for EMTs, paramedics and paramedic supervisors to fulfill the upgrade to the EMS system. The company is also accepting applicants for a paid training opportunity. Cocke County residents can apply for an accelerated EMT Academy program that requires no previous EMS experience and will prepare the student to take the National Registry exam for EMT-Basic licensure.  Interested individuals should visit www.priorityambulance.comTN.com/careers for more information and to apply.

About Priority Ambulance:

Priority Ambulance is the largest ambulance company operating in East Tennessee. The company is headquartered in Knoxville, with operations serving hospitals and health care facilities in Knox and Blount counties and exclusive 911 emergency ambulance services in Loudon County. Today, the Priority Ambulance of East Tennessee team has grown to a 25-ambulance fleet with 175 employees proudly serving our patients and customers. For more information, visit www.priorityambulanceTN.com.

Priority Ambulance is a member of a national family of ambulance companies. For more information about its national footprint, please visit www.priorityambulance.com.

Crossville manufacturer, John Cruz Custom Guitars, launches

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (May 24, 2022) – Crossville’s John Cruz Custom Guitars™ manufacturing facility is open for business and, as the boutique electric guitar market response has proven, business is good.

The company’s first 50 guitars, the ‘Premier Fifty’, sold-in to dealers in less than 24 hours. The initial run features two models in five different limited custom color schemes, which will be retired with the series. In addition, the guitars ship with a custom case and matching three-guitar case stand both outfitted in faux gator skin and emblazoned with ‘John Cruz Custom Guitars’ embroidery within their plush interiors.

The company had to pause its orders as they skyrocketed well over 100 master-built instruments. In addition, they have paused taking on new dealers as dozens of music stores all over the world have lined up to become an authorized dealer. According to the company’s CEO, founder and namesake, these are all great “problems” to have.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Cruz. “You never know how people are going to react to a new company selling a new brand of guitars. Sure, I’ve been around for a while; but ‘John Cruz Custom Guitars’ hasn’t. I’m humbled and inspired by the response and look forward to absolutely crushing it and exceeding everyone’s expectations.”

By launching the manufacturing facility in Crossville, Cruz is able to realize the dream of owning his own company handcrafting electric guitars (and eventually basses) for discriminating players all over the world. In his role, he is responsible for every aspect of the instruments – from hand-selecting the body and neck woods, to determining the specifications, inspecting the final fit and finish, and every process in between. The Southern California native couldn’t be happier with his move to Tennessee.

“I grew up in a large city in Southern California,” said Cruz. “I have a lot of great memories there but wanted to venture out and enjoy a more laid-back rural life. Crossville has everything I needed to reinvent myself and start my new manufacturing facility. The people here are very nice, warm and welcoming, and the surroundings are beautiful. Plus, there are great business opportunities here and you’re still close enough to larger cities. I can thrive and be myself here. This is ‘home’ now.”

Prior to starting the company in 2020, Cruz spent almost 30 years building instruments for the Fender Custom Shop, first as a builder in 1993 before becoming a Master Builder in 2003. He is most closely associated with recreating Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Number One”, Jeff Beck’s The Yardbirds guitar, Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Duck” and John Mayer’s “Black1” guitar.

Some of the artists he has built for over the years include Doug Aldrich of Dio and Whitesnake, Dave Amato and Bruce Hall of REO Speedwagon, Jeff Beck, Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, John Mayer, Duff McKagan and Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Carlos Santana, Ike Turner, Jimmie Vaughan, Bono of U2 and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith.

Currently, the company builds two different models, the Crossville ST™ “S”-Style guitar and Crossville TL™ “T”-Style guitar. Each model features hand-selected tonewoods, performance-grade specifications, a wide range of options and finishes, and four levels of Cruz’s famous aging and distressed conditioning (Pristine™, Time Capsule™, Whole Lotta Playing™, Battle Axe™).

“Everyone that knows the name ‘John Cruz’ thinks of a legendary musical instrument builder that hobnobs with the rock-n-roll elite,” said Casino Guitars owner Baxter Clement in Southern Pines, N.C. “But when you sit down with John, hold his guitars, coax the true nature out of them, you see the real ‘John Cruz’ for the first time.

“John is a builder, a lover of the craft of making fine instruments, a good man and someone who, after a lifetime of building for the best in the world, is now starting something beyond special. We are more than excited to see what John has to offer to a whole new generation of players and are proud to be a part of this journey with him."

John Cruz Custom Guitars’ Premier Fifty instruments can be found at authorized dealers. The Crossville manufacturing facility is not a dealer and guitars are not for sale. For more information and a list of dealers, go to www.johncruzcustomguitars.com.

UCOR starts new $8.3 billion cleanup contract in Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge, Tenn., May 23, 2022 –Today is the first day of work for United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR) as the company undertakes the $8.3 billion Oak Ridge Reservation Cleanup Contract. The company is a new configuration of UCOR, formerly an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs.  Under the new name and new contract, Amentum and Jacobs are joined by Honeywell to form the leadership team. Additional teaming partners of the joint venture are RSI Entech, StrataG, Longenecker & Associates, and Environmental Alternatives Inc. (EAI).

The newly configured UCOR will continue the successful performance that has been a hallmark of the company since it took over cleanup operations in 2011.  In 2020, UCOR successfully closed out the East Tennessee Technology Park contract almost $100 million under budget. That accomplishment was the first-in-the-world cleanup of a gaseous diffusion plant.

“People and partnerships were what made us successful in the previous iteration of UCOR,” said Ken Rueter, UCOR president and chief executive officer. “During our 11-plus years of safely cleaning up ETTP and other Reservation sites, we developed a highly skilled workforce that is second to none in their performance and dedication to safety.”

Rueter noted the power of the “incredible partnerships” the company developed with the community, elected leaders, labor, and stakeholder groups. “Now that much of our work has shifted to ORNL and Y-12, we depend on strong relationships with the prime contractors and federal offices at those sites. All of these partnerships are critical to our successful support of DOE’s priorities in a way that best benefits taxpayers.”

Under this new contract, while UCOR will continue the final soil and groundwater remediation at ETTP, the company will focus on removing unneeded, contaminated facilities at ORNL and the Y-12. At ORNL, there are more than 125 facilities identified for demolition, 30 of which are considered high risk. At Y-12, more than 90 facilities will eventually be demolished, with 25 of those being high risk. Most of this demolition is expected to be completed by 2031. Completion of this contract will not only deliver environmental risk reduction but enable historic preservation, conservation, and future economic development

Another major component of UCOR’s contract is the construction of a proposed new on-site disposal facility to handle the wastes that will be generated by this environmental cleanup. The proposed Environmental Management Disposal Facility will replace the current onsite facility, which has almost reached its capacity. UCOR’s use of onsite disposal has saved taxpayers significant money and also kept waste off public roadways.

The Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management issued the new contract as an Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity vehicle with a 10-year ordering period.

United Cleanup Oak Ridge LLC (UCOR) is the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s lead environmental cleanup partner. The company is removing unused, contaminated facilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, while continuing remedial actions at the East Tennessee Technology Park. UCOR is a partnership between Amentum, Jacobs, and Honeywell. The company’s nearly 2,000 workers are dedicated to safely reducing environmental risk on the Oak Ridge Reservation while helping DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration continue their missions. Learn more about the company at UCOR.com.

"C'mon & Celebrate" National Moonshine Day, June 2, with Ole Smoky

Gatlinburg, Tenn. – (May 17, 2022) – Ole Smoky Distillery, the most visited distillery in the world and #1 moonshine brand in the U.S., is bringing National Moonshine Day to life with a 360 degree marketing campaign and its first annual Shine Fest on June 2, 2022.

“Moonshine is a spirit with rich American history, and National Moonshine Day is a way for Ole Smoky to celebrate that legacy and share it with the world. It’s time we brought this holiday of ‘history in a jar’ to life for everyone to enjoy,” said Joe Baker, Founder of Ole Smoky.

Moonshine is perhaps one of the most storied spirits in the United States. Production of the notoriously incendiary spirit dates to the late 1700s, when Irish and Scottish immigrants settled in the Southern Appalachian area, bringing with them their home distilling practices and their recipes for what is typically a white whiskey derived from corn, yeast, sugar, and water. And up until recently, it was illegal.

“Hoop,” “shiney,” “skullpop,” “hooch,” and “white lightning” are a few other monikers for it, but it is most widely known as “moonshine” – a word that denotes an undertaking done at night, which in fact was how moonshiners evaded law enforcement. Though moonshiners continued to whet the whistles of hooch seekers in dry counties after Prohibition, distilling and consuming it became more of a pastime, especially in Southern Appalachia. Ole Smoky Moonshine exemplifies as much. Company co-founder Joe Baker, using a century-old family recipe that he fine-tuned, launched the brand in 2010, shortly after Tennessee made distilling moonshine legal in 2009. As the first legal moonshine in East Tennessee, the brand has grown exponentially in the past 12 years. The company now employs more than 800 people, makes a wide range of moonshines and whiskeys in four distillery locations across the state, and hosted more than 5.7 million visitors in 2021 alone.

Ole Smoky is the bestselling moonshine brand in the U.S., and as such has much to celebrate on June 2, National Moonshine Day. “The Ole Smoky team will be out in full force to bring National Moonshine Day to life at bars and restaurants, our distillery locations, and retail accounts throughout the country,” says Robert Hall, CEO, Ole Smoky Distillery. “We want everyone to celebrate this special day that’s a nod to our rich history.”

Ole Smoky has created four delicious National Moonshine Day Signature Recipes, including the Blackberry Moonshiner, featuring Ole Smoky Blackberry Moonshine, Lemonade and Muddled Mint, the Front Porch Punch with Ole Smoky Hunch Punch Moonshine, Lemonade, Lemon Lime Soda, and Cranberry Juice, the Tennessee Tea with Ole Smoky White Lightning Moonshine, Sweet Tea and Lemonade, and the Summer Shine with Ole Smoky White Lightning Moonshine, Lemonade, Orange Juice and Lemon Lime Soda.

The most notable celebration will be Ole Smoky’s Shine Fest hosted at their Nashville Distillery, 6th & Peabody. Ole Smoky has been featuring live music at its distilleries since it opened the doors to its flagship location in Gatlinburg and continues that tradition by kicking off Shine Fest; where guests can expect, “A full afternoon of entertainment that will feature artists we’ve built close relationships with over the years as well as some newer performers within the bluegrass and country genres,” said Hall. Musicians such as Levi Hummon and the Grammy-nominated Po’ Ramblin’ Boys will perform on 6th & Peabody’s outdoor stage. There will be delicious, local food and an exclusive National Moonshine Day cocktail to bring an extra tasty and refreshing Ole Smoky spin to the festivities. Shine Fest is June 2 at 6th & Peabody, 423 6th Ave S, Nashville, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Fans can visit nationalmoonshineday.olesmoky.com to enter for a chance to win a Grand Prize Trip to Tennessee for a Moonshine & Music Adventure, featuring roundtrip airfare for four, 3-night accommodations, a private VIP Moonshine Experience at 6th & Peabody. First prize winners will take home the Ole Smoky Porch Party Bundle, a complete kit to throw your own neighborhood party with Ole Smoky products, yard games, branded patio furniture and plenty of Shine Merch for the neighbors like Ole Smoky t-shirts and hats. Second Prize winners will receive Shine Merch, including custom Ole Smoky National Moonshine Day t-shirts. The website also features a C’mon & Celebrate National Moonshine Day Curated Playlist along with cocktail recipes to help fans celebrate National Moonshine Day at home.

About Ole Smoky® Distillery LLC

Ole Smoky is the leading distiller of premium moonshine in the world, the leading craft distiller in the US and the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky's roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains' earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine with enduring pride and Appalachian spirit. Today, Ole Smoky retails in all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world and offers more than 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors. Ole Smoky can be found in liquor stores nationwide, as well as at the company's four famed distilleries in Tennessee, The Holler and The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg, The Barn in Pigeon Forge, and 6th & Peabody in Nashville. For more information, please visit olesmoky.com and follow Ole Smoky on social media @olesmoky.

RAM’s free 2-day clinic set for this weekend

JELLICO, TENN. (May 17, 2022) – Remote Area Medical – RAM® – a major nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics delivering free, quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need – will hold a free, two-day clinic this weekend, May 21-22. RAM will be set up at Jellico Elementary School, located at 551 Sunset Trail, Jellico, TN 37762, for only two days.

All RAM services are free, and no ID is required. Free dental and medical services, as well as limited vision services, will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The patient parking lot will open no later than 11:59 p.m. (midnight) on Friday night, May 20, and remain open for the duration of the clinic. Once in the parking lot, additional information regarding clinic opening processes and next steps will be provided. Clinic doors open at 6 a.m.

Medical services are offered free to every patient attending the clinic. Vision services will include filling prescriptions that are no more than two (2) years old for glasses. All patients will be required to wear a face covering and must undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering the clinic. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530.

Additional Information:

  • Services available at the free RAM clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental x-rays, eyeglasses made on-site for prescriptions less than two (2) years old, women's health exams and general medical exams. Free take-home colon cancer screening test kits will also be available.

  • In some situations outside RAM’s control, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations or other circumstances, the parking lot may open earlier or a smaller number of patients may be served. RAM encourages everyone who would like services, especially dental services, to arrive as early as possible. Clinic closing time may vary based on each service area’s daily capacity. For more information, please see RAM’s FAQ page.

  • About Remote Area Medical: RAM is a major nonprofit organization that operates pop-up clinics delivering free, quality dental, vision and medical services to individuals in need who do not have access to, or cannot afford, a doctor. Founded in 1985, RAM has treated more than 888,000 individuals with $181.5 million worth of free healthcare and veterinary services. Since its foundation, nearly 183,000 volunteers – made up of licensed dental, vision, medical and veterinary professionals, as well as general support staff – have supported RAM’s mission.

Tennessee Craft requests proposals for new history of Black craft art in Tennessee

Nashville, TN (May 17, 2022) –  Tennessee Craft seeks proposals from qualified contractors to initiate an ongoing exploration of history of Black craftspeople and Black craft-making in Tennessee since 1920. This project is the first step in a series of actions by Tennessee Craft and our partners to re-center the efforts of Black Tennesseans in the production of handmade craft throughout the state's history. The introductory phase of our history research will contextualize the work of Black craft artists today and increase public awareness of craft produced in the past in Tennessee.

Founded in 1965, Tennessee Craft is well-known for its biannual craft fairs in Centennial Park, biennial Best of Tennessee Craft exhibition, regional chapters across the state and development opportunities for artists like mentorships, scholarships and workshops. Participation by Tennesseans of all backgrounds in the professional craft field has been uneven. This research project seeks to address the underrepresentation and/or omission of Black artists in our history and programs, in particular the historical narrative of handmade craft’s reemergence via the craft school and Studio Craft movements from the 1920s forward.

Research into the continuance and transfer of craft traditions among African Americans over the course of Tennessee’s history will be used to inform future public programming. The initial project will: 1) create a catalog of Black craft in Tennessee through the past century; 2) provide historical context for the work of modern Black craft artists; and 3) suggest topics for public presentation and further inquiry.

This history project will propel Tennessee Craft’s efforts to:

1. Tell the stories of Black craft artists publicly to address underrepresentation and omission;

2. Build resources of information on Black craft artists for current and future work by the organization and others;

3. Create public programs to share this artwork more broadly, elevating Black craft artists;

4. Supplement the organizational history of Tennessee Craft to include diverse craft artists and craft art.

Qualified candidates should have prior professional writing and research experience and interest in this topic. The full RFP with scope of work, timeline and selection criteria is available at: tennesseecraft.org/communityengagement. The deadline for submission of proposals is Friday, July 15, 2022. The awarded contractor will be announced and work will begin in September 2022. Email bmatthews@tennesseecraft.org with questions.

Pinnacle Turkey Creek welcomes Summer Nights

Knoxville, TN | May 16th, 2022 – Summer Nights is coming to Pinnacle Turkey Creek! This music event series will begin on Thursday, May 16th from 6PM-9PM and is in the Plaza near Talbots and Loft. We will be offering fun interactive activities, giveaways, live music, and so much more! Free of charge and family-friendly, Summer Nights will feature music by Brian Clay.

“We can’t wait to kick off the summer season with Summer Nights. This music series event gives you the opportunity to enjoy live music in a beautiful setting. It is a great opportunity to spend some time with family and friends in the outdoors on our beautiful property!” says Marketing Associate of Pinnacle Turkey Creek, Gabi Abbatemarco. “Events like this give us an opportunity to bring the community together and really share the unique atmosphere our shopping center has to offer.”

For more information about the event, visit pinnacleatturkeycreek.com

ABOUT PINNACLE TURKEY CREEK

Pinnacle Turkey Creek is an open-air lifestyle center located at 11251 Parkside Drive in Knoxville, Tennessee. Pinnacle Turkey Creek is home to more than 50 stores, including many retailers exclusive to the market, such as Ulta, Belk, Altar’d State, World Market, LOFT, White House | Black Market, and Smoky Mountain Brewery. In addition to the area’s best shopping, Pinnacle Turkey Creek plays hosts to several popular events and exciting workshops throughout the year.  Visit pinnacleatturkeycreek.com or follow The Pinnacle Turkey Creek on Facebook and Instagram.

ABOUT CRAWFORD SQUARE REAL ESTATE ADVISORS

Crawford Square Real Estate Advisors is a full-service, privately held real estate firm based in Birmingham, AL. The company relies on its team of experienced professionals to provide clients with superior service in leasing, property management, accounting and construction management -- producing exceptional asset results and value enhancement. Crawford Square is the leading full-service real estate company in the Southeast specializing in retail and mixed-use assets. With more than 9.4 million square feet of property, CSREA management high profile shopping centers such as The Shoppes at East Chase located in Montgomery, AL, Fayette Pavilion in Atlanta, GA, and Westport Village in Louisville, KY. For more information visit crawfordsq.com.             

Renovations begin at Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation headquarters

The Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation (AMS) headquarters located in Knoxville, TN are officially under renovation. When AMS first began operations at this location in 1988, all employees fit in one building. As AMS grew, so did its campus, which now spans over 100,000 square feet of office, laboratory, and additional expansion space.

AMS has had several rounds of renovations over the years. The company developed its training facility in 2008, and additional laboratory, office space, and land for expansion was purchased in both 2011 and 2017. This year, AMS has decided to turn its attention back to its original “Building A” to create even more office space for its ever-growing business.

The lower floor of the building will be transformed into a state-of-the-art software development laboratory with offices and a communal space for collaboration and creativity. The software team is responsible for developing the testing technology that is used at AMS, and the company is excited to officially welcome them into their own laboratory space later this year.

The expansion is being led by AMS Software Development Manager Sam Caylor. The renovation is expected to cost nearly $2 million and will be designed by Barber McMurry Architects and constructed by Denark. The construction is currently on track to be completed by Q4 of 2022.

AMS is a spin-off company from research efforts at The University of Tennessee (UT) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Today, AMS is a global nuclear engineering firm headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, with representatives in Austria, China, France, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Since its inception in July 1977, AMS has been providing the worldwide nuclear industry with products and services to measure instrumentation and control (I&C) system performance and to verify compliance with technical specifications and regulatory requirements. In addition to performing field measurements in nuclear power plants, AMS carries out equipment development, laboratory testing, technical training, and high-level technology research and development projects for a number of national and international organizations and governmental agencies.

Second Harvest Food Bank results of current distribution

Maryville, TN- Second Harvest Food Bank hosted an onsite food distribution on Thursday, May 12 and distributed 103,000 lbs. of food to 450 families at risk of hunger. The food distributed included canned items such as peas, pears, potatoes, beef stew and mandarin oranges.  Families also received rice, produce/meat boxes, and a USDA box.

Typically, the food bank distributes food to local pantries who then distribute it to community members at risk of hunger, but those needing food today could come to the Second Harvest warehouse in Maryville.

Elaine Streno, Executive Director says, “Second Harvest is here to fight hunger and feed hope for our East Tennessee neighbors facing hunger.  Today we were able to distribute enough food to provide more than 85,000 meals.”

About Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, a member of Feeding America, has worked to compassionately feed East Tennesseans experiencing hunger since 1982. Second Harvest distributes more than 22 million pounds of food across an 18-county service area through multiple feeding programs and 630+ community partners.

Ole Smoky Distillery launches new Moonshine Pineapples with Pina Colada

Gatlinburg, Tenn. – (May 12, 2022) – Ole Smoky Distillery, the most visited distillery in the world and #1 moonshine brand in the U.S., has released its latest moonshine fruits and veggies product, Moonshine Pineapples with Piña Colada. The delicious tropical expression joins the distillery’s Moonshine Cherries, Moonshine Pickles and Moonshine Peaches products available nationwide.

“This product was originally launched at our distilleries and because of the great response, we decided to make it available across the country. Ole Smoky is always looking for creative innovative flavors to surprise and delight consumers,” said Robert Hall, CEO, Ole Smoky Distillery.

To celebrate the launch of Pineapples with Piña Colada, Ole Smoky has created an easy and refreshing signature summer cocktail, the Tropic Sunrise, made with 2.5 ounces of Ole Smoky Moonshine Pineapples with Piña Colada Moonshine, 3 ounces of orange juice, 2 ounces of pineapple juice and garnished with an Ole Smoky Moonshine Pineapple, an Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherry and topped with a drizzle of grenadine. If you visit Ole Smoky’s 6th & Peabody Distillery in Nashville, or in a restaurant or bar that serves Ole Smoky, ask for the delicious TN Luau, which is a shot featuring 1 ounce of Piña Colada Moonshine together with 1 -2 chunks of moonshine pineapples.

Ole Smoky first launched their fruits and veggies products with their signature Moonshine Cherries, a delicious combination of maraschino cherries and 100 proof original moonshine. That product’s success in the marketplace led to the creation of Moonshine Peaches, blending luscious juicy peaches with Ole Smoky’s White Lightin’ Moonshine, perfect for Sangrias. Soon after, Ole Smoky released their Moonshine Pickles using crunchy dill pickles, pickled in moonshine which has become a necessary component of a Bloody Mary.

More Moonshine recipes and products can be found at: www.olesmoky.com.

Ole Smoky Distilleries are the most visited distilleries in the world. According to on-premise traffic counters, the four Ole Smoky Tennessee distillery destinations welcomed more than 5.7 million visitors in 2021.

About Ole Smoky® Distillery LLC

Ole Smoky is the leading distiller of premium moonshine in the world, the leading craft distiller in the US and the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. Founded in 2010, Ole Smoky's roots are traced to the Smoky Mountains' earliest settlers, families who produced moonshine with enduring pride and Appalachian spirit. Today, Ole Smoky retails in all 50 states and over 20 countries around the world and offers more than 25 creative moonshine flavors and 17 inventive whiskey flavors. Ole Smoky can be found in liquor stores nationwide, as well as at the company's four famed distilleries in Tennessee, The Holler and The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg, The Barn in Pigeon Forge, and 6th & Peabody in Nashville. For more information, please visit olesmoky.com and follow Ole Smoky on social media @olesmoky.

Sea Ray introduces two new vessels, SLX 260 and SLX 260 Outboard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 11, 2022) — Sea Ray is proud to announce two new models that will redefine the brand’s premium SLX line – the SLX 260 and SLX 260 Outboard. The new vessels offer boaters next-level luxury through elevated design aesthetics, optimized cruising comfort and a seamless command center. Available in both sterndrive and outboard propulsion from Mercury Marine®, the SLX 260 meets the needs of the modern coastal or inland boater.

Leveraging tailored, sophisticated style and easy-to-use amenities, the SLX 260 models deliver an escape from the day-to-day. Everything on the two boats has been carefully considered by Sea Ray in response to feedback from consumers. “The SLX 260, from bow to stern, was designed to give boaters an ideal day on the water, making it easy to relax and focus on what matters most – like cruising with friends and enjoying time with family. This model represents the future of our SLX line and creates the most premium experience on the water,” said Carrie Fodor, Senior Manager of Design Engineering.

The SLX 260 and SLX 260 Outboard are the latest boats to embody Sea Ray’s next-generation design, first seen on the Sundancer® 370 Outboard in 2021. “The SLX 260 is the first sport boat crafted with the new Sea Ray design language. The goal is to create models that are instantly recognizable, with elements such as the S-sheer line, dynamic center crease, elongated bow and integrated Sea Ray badge,” said Fodor.

“Last year the launch of our Sundancer 370 Outboard was met with waves of positive feedback from the boating industry and consumers,” said Keith Yunger, Sea Ray president. “Now, we’re excited to announce the SLX 260 and SLX 260 Outboard, representing an evolution of Sea Ray’s SLX line and also our dedication to delivering best-in-class new boats to the market.”

The SLX 260 is equipped with sterndrive or outboard propulsion. The sterndrive model is powered by a Mercury MerCruiser® 6.2L MPI ECT Bravo Three® engine with SmartCraft® Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS). The outboard model is propelled by a Mercury 300 Verado® engine with SmartCraft DTS.

The SLX 260 models feature improved seating to promote ergonomics and comfort. The deeper seats allow for a smoother, more luxurious ride. The cockpit’s L-shaped bench seating encourages socializing with cooler storage for up to two soft-sided coolers. The bow offers lounge-style seating with foldable armrests. As part of the Comfort bundle, a teak table and filler cushion can be added. The table can be used to share snacks, and the filler cushion converts the bow into a large sunpad.

Everything aboard the SLX 260 and SLX 260 Outboard has been thoughtfully designed to maximize space. At the transom, the expanded sunpad presents a relaxing place to take in the sights along the water’s edge. Convenient storage has been incorporated throughout the boat for an increase of 24 more cubic feet than previous models, including an integrated cooler or dry storage spot under the transom sunpad and a transom locker for stowing gear, floating water mats and inflatables. In addition, the ski compartment in the cockpit floor has been enlarged.

The optional next-generation Power Tower with an extended sunshade provides protection from the elements. It can be lowered or raised with the touch of a button, and removable canvas sections can be unzipped to reveal a T-top opening to let in the sun. The Power Tower can also be upgraded with Fusion® Signature Series speakers, part of the Entertainment bundle’s Premier Audio package, and LED RGB-W color changing lighting with a Sea Ray logo projection is available with the Lighting bundle. Additional tower upgrades include a Bimini top.

The SLX 260 models present a host of technologies that provide intelligent and seamless control.  The helm is equipped with a Dual Digital Dash™ featuring 9″ Simrad® touchscreen displays with Mercury Marine® VesselView® Mobile, Active Trim control & monitoring and CZone® digital switching. As part of the Entertainment bundle, the helm can be enhanced to add an inductive charging station.  For optimal stability and performance, the SLX models can also be enhanced with optional Dynamic Running Surface™.

For more information about Sea Ray, and to view the complete lineup, visit SeaRay.com.

Dollywood's Splash Country opens for 22nd season

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, May 11, 2022)— Lazy summer days are better in the Smoky Mountains, and Dollywood’s Splash Country is ready to host families for another season of fun in the sun. The region’s friendliest and most-trusted water park opens for its 22nd season on Saturday, May 14. Nestled into a mountain hollow, Dollywood’s Splash Country offers a resort-style getaway—and this summer, guests can expect park upgrades including a new zero-depth entry play space, more entertainment and new dining opportunities.

In response to two needs—more options for accessible play spaces and spaces targeted to young families—Dollywood’s Splash Country reopens its Little Creek Falls area as a zero-depth entry play space filled with themed elements such as flowers, leaves, cattails and pop jets. Previously, the attraction had 18 inches of standing water. Now that it’s been reimagined, this area is more welcoming to wheelchair users, those with sensory processing disorders and toddlers.

“At both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country, we are on mission to create opportunities for families of all abilities and in all seasons of life to enjoy,” explained Jason Boothe, Vice President of Park Operations. “We reimagined Little Creek Falls, but that’s not all that has kept our crews busy: we resurfaced and repainted 17 of our slides, put down new plaster in The Cascades, fixed concrete throughout the park, trimmed trees and planted new flowers and shrubs among other projects. Families expect a top-tier experience when they visit our destination, and that’s what we always want to deliver.”

Building on the strong foundation of the Dollywood brand, Dollywood’s Splash Country guests can look forward to fun touches to atmosphere elements and menu options during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration (June 18 – Aug. 7). The immersive experience at Dollywood’s water park is rich and intentional. Highly-themed around the beauty of the mountains, Splash Country offers a getaway that includes mature and established trees, natural shade and festival fun.

Throughout Dollywood’s Splash Country’s two-decade history, water park guests have been treated to more than pools and slides. Beyond a family environment full of immersive theming, guests often enjoy live entertainment at the wave pool. This season, in addition to Too Hot Tuesdays, (May 24, June 7 – 28 and July 12 – Aug. 2) and Splash Bash LIVE (Saturdays, June 18 – Aug. 6), there’s a new DJ-featured music event planned for Thursdays. Families should also mark their calendars for Water Safety Day (June 23) when guests are invited to participate in a day of activities and giveaways in an effort to raise awareness about safety in and around the water.

“As at Dollywood, we are always seeking to improve our guests’ experience,” Boothe continued. “We simplified the entry process with our new walk-through security screening that doesn’t require guests to remove items from their pockets. And because guests asked for more dining locations, we decided to offer Big River Pavilion as an option for all guests this season. This new venue will be a spot to sit in guaranteed shade to enjoy some tasty barbecue. In fact, our culinary team has created a few other new menu items including the debut of the Oakley Bros.’ Food Wagon (a mac and cheese food truck) by the wave pool. These upgrades along with additional rides included in our TimeSaver H2O pass program ensure that we’re always listening and responding to guest feedback.”

This is the best time for guests to secure great value out of Dollywood’s Splash Country as a Summer Splash Pass is available for a limited time. Now through May 29, visitors may purchase a water park-only season pass for $109, plus tax. This pass is available on the payment plan and includes unlimited visitation to Dollywood’s Splash Country for the 2022 season, a Bring-A-Friend ticket (blackout dates apply) and a meal voucher. For full offer and validity details, please visit www.dollywood.com/splashpass.

Dollywood’s Splash Country opens the weekend of May 14-15. Daily operation begins Friday, May 20 and continues through Aug. 7. After that, the park shifts operations to Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends through Aug. 21. Splash Country opens for two final weekends Aug. 27-28 and Sept. 3-4 with the last day being Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 5). For more information about Dollywood’s Splash Country or any of The Dollywood Company properties, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Second Harvest Food Bank announces results of MAYDAY

MARYVILLE, Tenn. –  Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee would like to thank their supporters for their overwhelming generosity during the food bank’s 9th Annual MAYDAY on May 10.  Donations from the radiothon raised $188,000 to help provide food for children at risk of hunger this summer.

“Second Harvest is grateful for the community’s support on MAYDAY,” said Second Harvest’s Executive Director, Elaine Streno. “Each year MAYDAY helps our efforts for children to receive the nutritious food they need, and we cannot do it without you!”

Second Harvest would like to thank Rand Property Management, NS4ED, Casey’s General Stores, Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow and Republic Plastics for their generosity and support.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, a member of Feeding America, has worked to compassionately feed East Tennesseans experiencing hunger since 1982. Second Harvest distributes more than 22 million pounds of food across an 18-county service area through multiple feeding programs and 630+ community partners.

BESCO unveils new brand identities and leadership changes as part of its accelerated growth plan

Knoxville, Tennessee – May 4th, 2022 – BESCO, an industry leader in providing electrical and mechanical services throughout the Southeast region and across the United States, today unveiled new brand identities and leadership changes for both BESCO and its subsidiary, Engert, LLC. These strategic moves are all part of recently

promoted President Bridgett McMahan’s plan to accelerate their current growth trajectory by better integrating both company’s capabilities to provide a more comprehensive mechanical, electrical and plumbing service offering to its customers.

According to BESCO President, Bridgett McMahan, Jason Johnston will continue to oversee Engert’s mechanical services and but will also assume responsibility for BESCO’s electrical operations in Knoxville. In addition, Donna Johnston, Engert President Emeritus, will now be focusing her efforts on community outreach efforts and

building external relationships. McMahan has also developed a new brand identity for Engert which brings it close in line with the new BESCO look and feel while also maintaining its autonomy.

McMahan commented, “I am excited about better integrating these two great teams together so we can deliver a more holistic offering of electrical, mechanical and plumbing solutions to our customers.” She added, “Our cultures are a perfect match and the new brand identities of both BESCO and Engert better reflect the passion and innovation that our team represents. Jason is a perfect fit for his new role, and he will be invaluable in making our joint offering in the Knoxville market even stronger and seamless.”

According to Johnston, “I am eager to take on this new role where I can represent both brands to provide onestop-shop mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services.” “We both make a great team, and I am looking forward to bringing more value to our customers. Our reputation for providing excellent service plus a more comprehensive range of services will be a game changer in this market. It is exciting.”

About BESCO

BESCO is a leading electrical contractor based in Knoxville, Tennessee, providing electrical construction and maintenance across the Southeast region and the country. BESCO also owns Engert, LLC, a mechanical company based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since 1950, BESCO has supported the regional growth in the area as the Tennessee valley grew from an agricultural center to a thriving economy of technology, manufacturing, higher education, and healthcare. In addition to the growing industries in the region, BESCO is a proud partner for commercial, healthcare, industrial, utility, and nuclear energy companies as well as federal, state, and local governments for electrical infrastructure and emergency storm response. For more information, please contact Jessica Maples - p. 865.342.0080 e. jmaples@besco.com.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark opens this Saturday

Officials for Soaky Mountain Waterpark, 175 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville, Tenn. today announced the waterpark will officially open for the 2022 season on May 14 and 15, and then daily starting May 20. A season pass holder celebration day is planned for Friday, May 20 from 10 am to 6 pm. All pass holders who purchase a 2022 souvenir cup will receive fee refills on all soda for the day.

According to Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, “We are super excited for our third season. We listened to the feedback from our season pass holders and we’ve made our park even better for 2022.

Changes include addition of a new dueling watercoaster, The Edge set to open most likely in late-June.

“‘The Edge’ is going to be a showstopper!” says Andrews. It will be perched on the edge of our waterpark, and will span two football fields in length. It’s fusing together WhiteWater’s Master Blaster water coaster with their iconic Boomerango. But, we are not adding just one slide, we are doubling it for a dueling thrill!”

A 70-foot tower will be home to the new slides. On it, double tubes will sit side by side, each in their own assigned lane. When the light turns green they will be propelled down a three-story mega drop that leads to the first valley of the ride. Then, they will be quickly blasted up a hill and into a section featuring a kaleidoscope of colors.

“Riders are sure to be mesmerized by the coaster’s AquaLucent rings (colorful circles) designed into the tube segments,” adds Andrews. “The distance between the rings will get closer and closer, giving riders an appearance of acceleration before they are surprised to see their competitors again as they are dropped into another heart-pounding drop.”

A second uphill blast will take riders into another enclosed tube segment, where this time they will be awed by colorful, laser-like AquaLucent stripes. These stripes will start longer, and then become shorter and shorter, giving a sense of sci-fi speed while the riders progress into a turn. When the riders shoot out of their tube, they will see not one, but two imposing Boomerango walls ahead of them, before dropping to the base of the wall, feeling extreme Gs. As the momentum takes the riders up the parallel walls, they will be able to see their competitors as they feel a sense of weightlessness before sliding back down. As a finishing touch, the riders will go over a zero-G hump to the end of the ride, the finish line is stacked with lights and effects to indicate who is the winner and who went over ‘The Edge’.

Andrews states, “The Boomerango is loved the world over, but our guests will be treated to very special version of it that has never done before. Our Boomerango walls are being designed to make the riders feel like they are going off ‘The Edge’ of the coaster. It is going to be spectacular.”

Other changes in the waterpark will include an expanded Tacolicious food truck; a new PHILLY UP! cheesesteak food truck; two new deck spaces with 1,000 new seats; and the addition of four more clamshell cabanas, three cabanas and five two-story cabanas.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark also includes the Avalaunch, a first-of-its kind watercoaster with four flying saucer features that create a drop-and-dive sensation and one wave curved wall; Soaky Surge, a massive, 35,000 square foot wave pool capable of generating waves 6 feet high; Black Bear Rapids, an adventure river encompassing 24,000 square feet; and The Hive, a bee-themed play-and-spray feature with countless hands-on activities for younger children.

If that’s not enough, there is also Boomers Bay, a super fun kid activity pool area with smaller versions of the adult-size towering slides including Lil’ Rattlers and Mini Mayhem so kids can experience the thrills and chills of the waterpark on their level; an adventure pool with a water obstacle course; a 3,800 square foot flat-water cabana pool for relaxing poolside; and Hang 10essee, a double FlowRider®️ surfing simulator.

In addition to the Avalaunch watercoaster, there are other massive slides including two five-person raft rides; a tubing tower with five flumes; two high-intensity body slides; and a four-lane, head-first mat racing challenge to satisfy everyone’s racing desires. Some of the slides feature translucent tubes which create a swirling array of light effects and others are themed in colors like the Rainbow’s Revenge which features all of the colors of the rainbow and the American Racer’s Rush which features red, white and blue stars and stripes.

Season admission passes are on sale now through April 30 for $109.99 and include one guest daily admission ticket. Starting May1 they will be $119.99. Daily admission tickets are $47.99 (if purchased online) for anyone above 42 inches and $39.99 for anyone under 42 inches. Children ages three and up require a ticket. The waterpark will be open through Labor Day and then weekends in September (weather permitting). Wilderness at the Smokies guests can purchase a discounted daily admission ticket for $19.99.

Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks currently owns and operates Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, and Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Lodge, and Wilderness on the Lake, Wild Rock Golf Course, Sundara Spa and Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells.

For more information visit: SoakyMountainWaterpark.com.

Additional show announced for Dollywood's Rock the Smokies

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Tuesday, May 10, 2022) — Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies returns for the first time since 2019, and excitement for the event has prompted event organizers to add a third showtime for the Saturday, Aug. 27 event. Concertgoers can now select a 7 p.m. showtime for the inspirational event featuring headliners TobyMac and Newsboys at DP’s Celebrity Theater.

Several other contemporary Christian artists visit during this well-loved event. Christian hip-hop artist Aaron Cole, Katy Nichole, sister pop duo RENEE and Ben Fuller are set to perform for park guests on stages in the park. All performances outside of DP’s Celebrity Theater are free with park admission. Actor and comedian Heath Arthur serves as the emcee for the performances in DP’s Celebrity Theater.

Super early bird pricing ends June 24, and early bird pricing ends July 29. Meet & Greet opportunities are available through the platinum VIP package. Special Dollywood season passholder pricing also is available on the event website.

By combining all the adventure of a day at the theme park with great music, Dollywood has crafted a unique event packed with fun for all ages. A ticket purchase includes admission to Dollywood. Discounts are available for groups, season passholders and guests who order tickets early. Packages are available that include VIP seating, t-shirts, pictures with the artists and much more!

For more information about the event, visit rockthesmokiesfest.com. To learn more about multi-day ticket options or 2022 Dollywood season passes, visit Dollywood.com or download the Dollywood app.

Oak Ridge serves as epicenter of U.S. rowing with regatta trifecta in May

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- Upwards of 2,000 athletes will hit the waters of Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee this month for three of the most prestigious regattas in the country, the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Women’s Rowing Championship (May 14 - 15), American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) Championship (May 20 - 22) and the Dogwood Masters Classic (May 28).

“It is an honor to host the best teams in the country on our waters,” said Oak Ridge Rowing Association’s (ORRA) Regatta Director, Matt Kaminski. “Each race will showcase teams in their peak postseason form. I expect the competition to be as intense as ever.”

Squads will descend on Melton Hill to wrap up their rowing season with the 2022 AAC Women’s Rowing Championship on Saturday, May 14, through Sunday, May 15. This is the second time Oak Ridge will host the championship regatta. Teams in the AAC vying for this title include the likes of Temple University, Southern Methodist and several more. Fans can catch the competition live on ESPN+.

The ACRA Championship will also garner national recognition as teams embark on their pilgrimage to Oak Ridge after back to back covid-related cancellations in 2020 and 2021. Between Friday, May 20, and Sunday, May 22, over 50 programs will compete for the highly coveted national title. ORRA’s highly functional course featuring long, dedicated warmup areas won the bid for the championship destination back in 2020. Unlike all other qualified courses, ORRA will eliminate wake from leisure boats with the closure of boat access points to Melton Hill. Amongst many other teams participating in the event, colleges from California, Washington State, Vermont and Florida  are expected to impress as they compete along miles of Melton Hill’s sheltered waters bringing teams from all four corners of the US to town.

Wrapping up the trifecta of rowing events, the Dogwood Masters Classic, will take place Saturday, May 28. The annual event pushes the rower's endurance through a series of 1000-meter sprints. This seven lane interaction will feature teams including the likes of Cincinnati and Pensacola  and will conclude the 2022 spring regatta season for ORRA. Like its May counterparts, the Dogwood Masters Classic expects to attract a large number of visitors to the East Tennessee region.

Spectators and fans are welcome to attend all three events. The ORRA Melton Hill course includes parking for more than 50 team trailers, 1,000m of shaded spectator area along the race course, picnic facilities, permanent modern restrooms, a children's playground, and access to the Melton Lake Greenway and Haw Ridge Park, with 778 forested acres and more than 28 miles of single track and mixed-use trails. Spectator access and parking at the Melton Lake Venue are free.

For more information about the event, please visit the Oak Ridge Rowing Association’s website.

WHAT:                 2022 AAC Women’s Rowing Championship

                          2022 ACRA Championship

                          2022 Dogwood Masters Class

WHO:                   Matt Kaminski, Oak Ridge Rowing Association

WHEN:                Friday and Saturday, May 14 - 15, 2022

                          Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 20 - 22, 2022

                          Saturday, May 28, 2022

WHERE:              Oak Ridge Rowing Association on Melton Hill

                           697 Melton Lake Dr, Oak Ridge, TN 37830

CONTACT:           Hannah Whitson

                           hannah@piper-communications.com

                           423-408-4203

About Oak Ridge Rowing Association

Oak Ridge Rowing Association is a small non-profit organization, located in Oak Ridge, TN, that serves the youth of the Oak Ridge community through its Atomic Juniors and Adult competitive and recreational rowing programs. ORRA’s programs are structured to support all area youth and adults, recognizing and embracing the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our mission statement, since the club was founded in 1978 is simple- “supporting rowing in East TN”. We enjoy the opportunity to positively influence, shape and hopefully improve the lives of area youth through this sport that we all love.

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill continues to grow with a second opening in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 9, 2022) – Naf Naf added another location to its growing footprint and is now inviting more Tennesseans to experience the best flavors of the Middle East at its second Knoxville-area location!

Located at 6485 Kingston Pike in the popular Bearden, the new restaurant gives hungry diners the opportunity to discover, delight and share Naf’s Middle Eastern signature items like pita, crispy falafel, award-winning chicken shawarma and scratch-made signature sauces. Knoxville’s new Naf is open Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The opening marks the second Naf in Tennessee for Franchisee Nick Ibrahim and the 30th systemwide for the brand.

“The brand received a warm welcome in The Volunteer State so far with our first Knoxville restaurant, and we look forward to inviting more guests to share our delicious Middle Eastern dishes with one another,” said Naf CEO Greg Willman. “With a strong franchisee like Nick in the market, I’m very excited for the brand’s future in Tennessee.”

After signing several multi-unit deals to develop new locations throughout the country in 2021 and early 2022, Naf is seriously “fanning the flame” of expansion. The emerging brand is projecting 11 open new units in 2022, which includes three new markets for the brand – Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, each with multiple locations planned.

To learn more about Naf, visit nafnafgrill.com.

Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill: Fan The Flame of Your Passion (and your appetite).

About Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill

Naf is making fresh Middle Eastern cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Inspired by tradition, Naf’s genuine hospitality paired with handmade dishes derived from Old World recipes create a welcoming atmosphere where guests are invited to fan the flame of culinary exploration. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking with choices of top-quality meats, like its award-winning Chicken Shawarma roasted on a vertical spit, to freshly ground falafel and pillowy pita baked in-restaurant throughout the day. Naf is headquartered in Chicago with 30 locations nationwide. For more information, visit nafnafgrill.com.

TNECD requesting letters of intent for Tennessee Historic Development Grant Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that letters of intent are now being requested for the Tennessee Historic Development Grant Program (HDGP).

The first round of the program, approved by the Tennessee General Assembly in April 2021, provided $4.8 million to projects that aim to renovate and preserve the state’s commercial historic buildings. Gov. Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly approved a second round for this program in April 2022 after overwhelming support and interest in the first year. The funds encourage communities and private developers to invest in buildings that have contributed to a community’s history but now sit idle. These buildings can once again contribute to the economy through job creation and commercial opportunities.

A letter of intent is required to participate and can be submitted from May 9 to June 15, 2022, to confirm eligibility of the historic property by TNECD and the Tennessee Historical Commission. Applications will be accepted June 30 through August 19, 2022. This program will be highly competitive, and applications will be scored based on project need, impact, overall plan, financing, feasibility, support and location.

Various criteria must be met for a structure to be eligible for a grant. Eligible properties that qualify as certified historic structures are defined here. Additional frequently asked questions can also be found on the website.

Applicants will be notified of award later this fall, and contracts are expected to begin within a month following announcing awards.

TNECD will be hosting a webinar for those interested to learn more about the letter of intent and program guidelines. Webinar information can be found below:

HDGP Application Webinar

Thursday, May 12, 2022

12-1 p.m. CDT

The webinar will be recorded and uploaded to the website for those unable to attend. Additional information about the grant, eligibility and application can be found here.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Like us on Facebook. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

The Big Night Out, celebrating mentors throughout East Tennessee

[Knoxville, TN] Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) will host their inaugural event, The Big Night Out, presented by FirstBank on May 12. The Big Night Out will be an evening celebrating the driving force of our mission, Mentors. The awards dinner from 5:30pm-8:30pm at The Mill & Mine, 227 W. Depot Avenue.

At The Big Night Out, BBBS-ETN will induct three new individuals to the BBBS-ETN Hall of Fame. Beal Bourne of Jarnigan & Son Mortuary and BBBS-ETN’s first black Big Brother; Chip DeBlois, and William “Ed” Harmon are the 2022 inductees. DeBlois and Harmon are co-founders of BBBS-ETN. Additionally, Compassion Coalition and First Horizon will be inducted as Community Partners. The Hall of Fame honors individuals and partners that have been instrumental in providing direction, energy, and support to the shaping of BBBS-ETN.

BBBS-ETN will honor Jim Clayton as the first winner of the East Tennessee Mentor of the Year award recipient. This new award honors someone who has made a positive and lasting impact in East Tennessee through mentorship (personal and professional).

Visit www.TennesseeBig.org/events  for more information.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee has been transforming the lives of children since 1970. We are a member agency of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organization in the United States, consisting of more than 350 agencies nationwide. Our mission is to create and professionally support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of East Tennessee youth.

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa earns top USA Today award

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, May 6, 2022) — For the third time since the award’s inception in 2018, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa was named the number one Amusement Park Hotel in the country by USA Today readers in the publication’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards.

A panel of experts and USA Today 10Best editors selected which properties and attractions would compete for titles across several categories in the award competitions that took place in April. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa earned the top spot for best Amusement Park Hotel, while Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins finished sixth in the same category.

During its history, DreamMore Resort and Spa has earned several awards including being named one of Southern Living’s “Best Places to Stay in the South,” one of Travel + Leisure’s “25 Resorts in the US that are Perfect for Families” and the #2 Best Family Resort in 2021 by USA Today.

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which celebrates its seventh anniversary in July, has quickly become a sought-after resort destination. Nestled in the Smoky Mountains next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa provides guests with a full-service, comfortable home-away-from-home experience that only Dolly Parton could create. Inspired by Parton’s childhood in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, a love for music and storytelling, and a desire to create a place for families to grow and play, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa brings Parton’s vision for a premiere family destination to life.

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa has several unique areas and experiences for families to spend quality time together. Families gather to play checkers by the fireplace in one of the resort’s grand living rooms, enjoy a glass of sweet tea in a rocking chair on one of the many porches or swap stories on one of the beautiful garden benches. The resort’s lavish 20-acre property includes premiere amenities and perks to help guests create their own special moments and memories.

Full-service dining, a full-service salon and spa, indoor and outdoor pool complexes, and exclusive park privileges—like complimentary transportation to Dollywood theme park and complimentary TimeSaver passes for Dollywood rides and shows—make the property a must-visit experience. Additionally, there are a variety of on-site activities at the resort for families. Through fun-filled activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and summertime pool parties, Camp DW is designed to inspire children’s imaginations. At night, families gather around the fireplace for a bedtime story with a book selected from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Guests also can roast complimentary marshmallows to make s’mores each night around the fire pit.

For more information about Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa and Dollywood’s 2022 season, please visit Dollywood.com.

Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild concludes statewide tour of "Farm to Tap" festivals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild has concluded its first statewide set of the “Farm to Tap” festivals and will continue to plan events that bring growers, brewers and consumers together over the coming year.

“Our brewers nailed it! They turned Tennessee crops into great beer. These events put a spotlight on Tennessee herbs, fruits, and other home-grown ingredients," said Sharon Cheek, Executive Director of the Guild.

“’Farm to Tap’ celebrates what is uniquely Tennessee and I’m really proud of our brewers, vendors, and volunteers who made these events a success,” Cheek said.

The festivals kicked off in Knoxville, followed by Nashville, and ended in Memphis to highlight Tennessee agriculture and its partners. These three events gave participants the chance to sample a variety of Tennessee-brewed beer and interact with brewers and Pick Tennessee Products partners to learn more about where their products are sourced from and how they are made.

The “Farm to Tap” initiative was conceived to bring Tennessee brewers and farmers together to encourage the further use of homegrown farm products in local craft beers. It officially started in November 2021 with various kick off events throughout the state.

The Guild contracted with Rhizome Productions to carry out the vision and logistics of these state-wide tasting experiences. Both Tailgate Brewery in Nashville, and Wiseacre Brewing in Memphis generously provided space for the events. Suttree Landing Park and the Tennessee River served as Knoxville’s backdrop.

The program’s state funding was continued for a second year in the state legislative session that ended last week.

More than 1,500 people attended the three festivals. Additionally, more than 30 Tennessee breweries showcased their craft brews utilizing Tennessee grown crops and several local vendors also attended and offered their products for sale.

“’Farm to Tap’ exceeded our expectations and reinforced the strong appeal of Tennessee products in the rapidly growing craft beer industry in Tennessee,” said Tennessee Department of Agriculture Business Consultant Kyle Hensley.

“One element of year two will be a more focused education component for the potential farm partners,” Hensley said.

The mission of “Farm to Tap” is to provide a common ground for Tennessee farmers and brewers to foster new relationships and collaborate on new projects with the help of the Guild. The brewers quoted below share their experience with the festivals and their plans for continued partnerships.

"Working directly with farmers is a unique experience as a brewer to get to see their product from the ground up. We are so happy that the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild has made this relationship a priority and we look forward to continuing our partnership," said Ryan Allen, Owner and Master Brewer of Soul & Spirits Brewery.

“It was great to see the ‘Farm to Tap’ festivals come to fruition after having worked so long with Sharon and Kyle, among others, to get this program off the ground. I'm happy to see how supportive the beer community has been for the ‘Farm to Tap’ launch and the excitement of our guests and customers who all got to be a part of it. I'm excited to see ‘Farm to Tap’ continue and can't wait to participate in all future events,” said Chad Mueller, Head Brewer of Tennfold Brewing.

About The Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild:

The Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild is a 501(C)6 nonprofit membership organization representing independent craft breweries across Tennessee. It exists to advance the interests of and serve as the collective voice for the Tennessee craft brewing industry. For more information about the Guild, visit www.tncraftbrewers.org/. For more information about Farm to Tap, visit www.farmtotap.org/.

Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is back with live performances June 3rd and 4th

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, featuring three nationally renowned storytellers, is back with in-person performances June 3 and 4. Early bird ticket prices are available through May 15. This popular annual event will return live at the Historic Grove Theater, 123 Randolph Road, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

All tickets, including the early bird special, can be purchased online at Eventbrite or the Ferrell Shop (cash or check only) in Oak Ridge. Tickets for individual performances and events are available.

The three-day event will feature storytellers Sheila Arnold, Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp  known to audiences nationwide for their wit, wisdom and ability to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce. Two special events have been added to the weekend: a writing workshop by Bil Lepp,  on Thursday, June 2, and a special tour of Oak Ridge by Oak Ridge Historian, Ray Smith on Friday, June 3.

The festival has received significant corporate sponsorship for 2022. Consolidated Nuclear Security at Y-12 National Security Complex is the Presenting Sponsor for the entire Festival, and Pinnacle Bank is underwriting the Friday night premiere performance by Sheila Arnold. Other corporate sponsors are Bridgewater Balance and Hearing, Chuck’s Car Care Center and TNBank.

On Friday night, June 3, 7 p.m. Flatwater Tales has commissioned acclaimed storyteller Sheila Arnold to write and tell the story of the Scarboro 85, the 85 brave youngsters who desegregated the Oak Ridge Schools in 1955.  Few people know of this 1955 milestone event. Sheila will honor the Scarboro 85 in her presentation, “The Secret City’s Secret City: Scarboro,” by telling some of their stories. Storytellers Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp  will also perform Friday evening. Friday evening tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

During the three shows on Saturday, June 4, the storytellers will share different stories for each performance. The morning family show, from 10:00 a.m. to noon will offer tickets at $10 for adults and $5 for school-age children. The afternoon show is from 2-5:00 p.m. and the evening show is from 7-10:00 p.m. Tickets for the afternoon and evening performances are $25 for each show. All shows are Eastern time zone. Early bird pricing is currently available through May 15 at $40 for both the Saturday afternoon and evening shows. For groups of ten or more tickets will be $20 each for either the afternoon or evening performances.

Storyteller Bil Lepp, star of the History Channel’s “Man vs. History,” will present a special writing workshop “Bringing a Story to Life and Including Your Audience in the Experience” on Thursday June 2, 2-4:00 p.m. at the UT Arboretum Auditorium, 901 S. Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. Tickets for the workshop are $50 and are also available at Eventbrite and the Ferrell Shop in Oak Ridge. The Ferrell Shop accepts cash or check only.

A first-time special event has been added to this year’s Flatwater Tales. Oak Ridge Historian, Ray Smith, will lead a tour of some historic Oak Ridge sites on Friday, June 3, at 1p.m. Tickets for this free tour are available on Eventbrite. The event is FREE but registration is required. Learn the history of Oak Ridge by spending the afternoon with Ray.

The tour (in your own vehicle following Ray), will include the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell, the Secret City Commemorative Walk, Historic Jackson Square, the Alexander Guest House, the Chapel on the Hill, a drive by of several historic alphabet houses including the "D" house that famous Manhattan Project photographer Ed Westcott lived in during his retirement years. Options also include details of what to expect in Oak Ridge's five museums (American Museum of Science and Energy, Oak Ridge History Museum, K-25 History Center, Y-12 History Center (if Covid allows), and Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge) as add on self-guided destinations. An additional option will be the Manhattan Project National Historical Park visitor center for those who desire to get their National Park passport stamped.

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is led by volunteers from all three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs.

New outdoor venue, River Breeze Event Center, reveals concert events

May 3, 2022 (Knoxville, TN) - Today, River Breeze Event Center announces its first two

concert events. UB40’s BIGGA BAGGARIDDIM TOUR with The Original Wailers featuring Al Anderson, Maxi Priest and Big Mountain brings Reggae vibes to Knoxville on August 18, 2022. Funk band Here Come the Mummies, with special guests Saxsquatch, perform on September 9, 2022. Both shows are on sale now at www.goriverbreeze.com.

With this announcement, River Breeze Event Center reveals that the late summer/fall 2022 season will mark the highly anticipated “soft-opening” of Knoxville’s new premier outdoor venue. Look for additional 2022 “sneak peek” shows—open to the public, but with limited capacity—leading up to the venue’s official Grand Opening in 2023 to be announced soon.

Those who would like to be the first to know about all things River Breeze are encouraged to subscribe to the newsletter at www.goriverbreeze.com.

Thursday, August 18 @ River Breeze Events Center

UB40’s BIGGA BAGGARIDDIM TOUR with The Original Wailers featuring Al Anderson, Maxi Priest and Big Mountain

Tickets starting at $45.00 / All Ages Welcome

Friday, September 9 @ River Breeze Events Center

Here Come the Mummies w/ special guests Saxsquatch

Tickets $25.00 / All Ages Welcome

Free River Breeze Shuttle service to/from the event is included with each ticket purchased. Onsite parking is very limited and we highly encourage using the free shuttle - it’s part of the River Breeze experience!

About River Breeze Events Center:

Located just minutes from Downtown (6110 Asheville Hwy. Knoxville), the River Breeze site first opened to the public in 1950, operating as the city’s beloved Drive-In Movie Theater for over 30 years before shuttering its doors in 1980. Today, the 7+ acre property stretching along the Holston River has been re-imagined as a state-of-the art outdoor venue.

Born from and fostered by Knoxville natives and business owners, in collaboration with

regional and national live event specialists, River Breeze’s ethos is to host exceptional event experiences that seamlessly blend Knoxville, Tennessee’s unique local heritage and hospitality with world-class appeal. Event attendees, music fans, local residents, visitors to Knoxville—you are the River Breeze community. This is your space.

River Breeze Event Center will host top notch local, national, and international concerts and entertainment events—almost year-round. Look for diverse concert & event programming, delicious food & beverage offerings, exceptional venue operations and unique venue experiences. River Breeze Event Center will also be available for private rentals: weddings, business conferences, school and community fundraisers, and more.

Local restaurant offers $1,000 and recording session in upcoming singing competition

FARRAGUT, TN -- Daddy Mac's Down Home Dive, located at 11335 Campbell Lakes Drive in Turkey Creek, is looking for the next great singer! Blind auditions for Daddy Mac's Voice Off will begin at the restaurant on Saturday, May 7th, continuing on May 14th and May 21st.

Finalists will compete weekly in front of a panel of judges to move on to the next round. The Voice Off winner will win $1,000 and a recording session from Wildwood Recording Studio in Maryville, TN.

WHAT

The Daddy Mac's Voice Off Competition will begin in May. Registration for local singers to participate in the Blind Audition round is open now!

WHEN

Blind Auditions will be held at Daddy Mac's:

Saturday, May 7 at 7pm

Saturday, May 14 at 6pm

Saturday, May 21 at 7pm

PRIZE

The 2022 Voice Off Winner will receive $1,000 and a recording session at Wildwood Recording Studio in Maryville, TN

WHERE

Daddy Mac's Down Home Dive

11335 Campbell Lakes Drive

Farragut, TN 37934

LINKS

Event Page | eatatdaddymacs.com/voiceoff

Facebook Event | facebook.com/events/3114316772164610

Huey Magoo’s now open in Kingsport

Orlando, FL (May 4, 2022) – Huey Magoo’s - the “Filet Mignon Of Chicken®” - celebrates its newest franchise store with the grand opening today of its first restaurant in Tennessee in Kingsport, President and CEO Andy Howard announces.  Huey Magoo’s Kingsport is the 24th restaurant opening system-wide spanning five states, with over 200 franchises currently sold in nine states.  The 3,600 square foot Kingsport restaurant features indoor seating, an outdoor patio and a double drive-thru.  This is the first of 20 Huey Magoo’s restaurants to open in the Tri-Cities and Nashville market area under franchisees Odus, Addie, Rudy and Katie Mundy, who have also been multi-unit Fazolis franchisees for 26 years.  Huey Magoo’s Kingsport will offer dine-in, take-out and delivery through third-party delivery services DoorDash and Uber Eats in the future.

“We are very excited for the opening of Kingsport,” says the Mundy family.  “We’ve been fortunate to be able to hire some great people that share our same passions and goals.  This is really the culmination of a lot of time, effort and hard work by my team, who we are extremely appreciative of.  Kingsport is a great area to be in.  We’ve been eyeing the tri-cities area for some time and were thrilled when the opportunity presented itself to enter the market.  We’re elated to be here and serve the Kingsport community for years to come.”  Howard continues, “This is an exceptionally thrilling opening for the entire brand as it’s the very first Huey Magoo’s restaurant in Tennessee.  We are very fortunate to have our excellent franchise team the Mundy’s spearheading our growth there, and we look forward to seeing them open many more restaurants throughout the state.”

Huey Magoo’s restaurants offer safe dine-in/out, take out, delivery through third-party delivery services, drive-thru and curbside pickup at participating restaurants.  (Check www.hueymagoos.com for updates on all restaurants’ dining room openings).  All guests will enjoy Huey Magoo’s signature grilled, hand-breaded or “sauced” premium chicken tenders, farm fresh salads, sandwiches and wraps.  Each Huey Magoo’s tender is always made all natural, with no antibiotics ever, no hormones, no steroids and no preservatives.

Enjoy Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders now open at 2700 E. Stone Drive, Kingsport, TN 37660 (Kingsport Pavilion).  Hours of operation are daily 11am-9pm (dine-in), 11am-10pm (drive-thru).  For more information and a complete list of locations, visit www.hueymagoos.com, and call 423-405-1430 for the Kingsport restaurant.  For franchising inquiries, contact Andy Howard at andy@hueymagoos.com.

About Huey Magoo’s

Huey Magoo’s was founded in 2004 by Matt Armstrong and Thad Hudgens, two southern boys with a passion for quality chicken and a penchant for serving others.  Voted “Best Fried Chicken”, “Best of the Best Chicken Tenders”, “The Best-Rated Fried Chicken in Florida” and “America’s Hottest Startup Fast Casuals”, Huey Magoo's is rapidly expanding and franchising throughout the Southeast with multiple locations throughout Central Florida, in South Florida, Jacksonville, Greater Tampa, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and coming soon to South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Las Vegas and many more.  Huey Magoo’s prides itself on providing the greatest tasting chicken tenders in a clean, family-friendly environment, while showing their love for people.  Huey Magoo’s delivers delicious, cooked-to-order chicken tenders, and they do it to perfection.  Huey Magoo’s gives back a portion of profits to not-for-profit organizations and community groups.  Committed to building a culture of excellence in service and food quality by serving only premium hand-breaded or grilled chicken tenders dipped or "sauced" in uniquely flavorful signature sauces, Huey Magoo’s attracts a loyal following of Millennials, families and neighboring businesses craving quality, delicious food at reasonable prices.

Eonix LLC Partners with Schrödinger to accelerate materials design for lithium-ion batteries

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 3, 2022) — Eonix LLC, whose semi-autonomous ATLAS-system reduces timelines for energy storage materials design from years to months, today announced an exclusive collaboration with Schrödinger, Inc. to accelerate the discovery and design of materials for safer, energy dense lithium-ion batteries.

During this three-year collaboration, Schrödinger will develop physics-based and machine learning models leveraging the comprehensive and chemically diverse database generated from Eonix’s rapid, semi-autonomous materials screening ATLAS-system to enable 100,000’s of chemical candidates to be accurately computationally screened. These models will be deployed in conjunction with Eonix’s ATLAS-system to identify low cost, industrially-available compounds that improve the safety, temperature stability, energy density, and charging rate of both conventional and anode-free lithium ion batteries for grid storage, consumer electronics, defense and electric vehicle applications.

“Schrödinger is the ideal partner to accelerate our lithium-ion battery materials design and discovery,” said Eonix CEO Don DeRosa. “Schrödinger’s physics-based platform and expertise complements our rapid, semi-autonomous materials screening ATLAS-system. Schrödinger will be able to use rapidly generated lab data from Eonix’s ATLAS-system combined with physics-based predictions to develop and iteratively train robust machine learning models that will ultimately identify next generation materials for better batteries. This collaboration marks the first time a rapid materials screening lab-based technology will be paired with rapid computational screening technology in the battery industry to supercharge materials discovery.”

“Designing safer, less expensive, and more effective batteries is a critical challenge, and we are excited to collaborate with the Eonix team to apply our platform at scale to develop the next generation of lithium-ion batteries,” stated Mat Halls, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Materials Science at Schrödinger, Inc.

This collaboration will be conducted jointly by the Schrödinger and Eonix scientific teams. Schrödinger is contributing the equivalent of more than $5 million in software, computer time, and services annually to support the collaboration. Schrödinger received an initial equity stake in Eonix and will be eligible to receive additional equity upon the successful completion of technical milestones during the collaboration.

About Eonix

Eonix has created the first semi-autonomous materials R&D system, ATLAS-system, that drastically reduces the time and cost to design new materials for lithium-ion batteries. This breakthrough process shrinks product development cycles of application specific lithium-ion battery chemistries from years to months. Eonix's novel ATLAS-system enables the rapid design of drop-in compatible electrolyte solutions that address the market specific barriers electric vehicles, grid storage, and hybrid defense systems to drive clean tech adoption. To learn more, visit EonixEnergy.com and follow us on LinkedIn.

Job applicants can stay and play during upcoming Dollywood Parks & Resorts hiring event at Dollywood's Splash Country

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Tuesday, May 3, 2022) — As Dollywood’s Splash Country prepares for its May 14 season opening, a few special guests have an opportunity to take to the water before the general public. Job applicants to the next Dollywood Parks & Resorts hiring event might just leave with a job, free food, door prizes and a tan!

On Tuesday, May 10, job applicants who visit Splash Country to interview for a number of available positions on teams across Dollywood Parks & Resorts properties can stay and play until 6 p.m. It’s certainly the coolest job fair ever, and applicants don’t need a suit and tie—only their swimsuit. Many will receive job offers on-the-spot, and following their interview, applicants can enjoy the beauty of the award-winning water park. Free food, door prizes and even more fun await attendees. The event begins at 2 p.m.

Several exciting new perks—including free lunch for all employees during their shifts—competitive wages, and more add to the reasons why The Dollywood Company is the perfect fit for anyone regardless of their career aspirations. Interested applicants may view opportunities, as well as job descriptions and basic requirements for each position, at dollywoodjobs.com. Applicants can signify their interest in a position by following the online instructions to complete the application process.

Full-time, part-time and seasonal positions are available across properties. Peak season openings, which are perfect for applicants looking for a fun summer position or for those looking to earn a little extra money during the Christmas holidays, also are available. Applicants must be 14 years of age or older.

Forbes named The Dollywood Company as one of the best mid-size employers in the country in both 2021 and 2022. The company also was named to the Top Workplaces USA list for 2022.

Dollywood Parks & Resorts hosts receive a variety of unique benefits including access to the Dollywood Family Healthcare Center, along with complimentary Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country admission for family and friends. Hosts are provided free meals for every working shift, and also take part in Dollywood’s Park Perks program which provides free or reduced admission to a large number of regional attractions, theaters and experiences. A comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision, is available for qualified full-time employees.

Through Dollywood’s operating partner Herschend Enterprises’ GROW U. program, all hosts are eligible for 100 fully-funded diploma, degree and certificate programs across 30 learning partners within Guild Education’s Learning Marketplace. Herschend’s GROW U. utilizes Guild’s Marketplace to offer classes in high-demand fields such as business administration, culinary, finance, technology and marketing. The company also will provide partial funding for 150 additional programs in fields including hospitality, engineering, human resources and art design.

Dollywood also pays a portion of childcare costs for hosts whose children are cared for at a WeeCare-affiliated provider. Additionally, numerous development opportunities are available to help employees grow leadership skills, including an apprenticeship program in conjunction with Walters State Community College.

For more information about working at Dollywood Parks & Resorts, please visit dollywoodjobs.com.

Second Harvest Food Bank to host 9th annual MAYDAY Radiothon

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee will host our 9th annual MAYDAY Radiothon on Tuesday, May 10 from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.  This one-day event will raise funds for children in East Tennessee who are at risk of hunger.  Donations will support Second Harvest’s Food for Kids and School Pantry programs.

“More than 12,600 children benefit from Food for Kids in 280 schools in Second Harvest’s service area.  No one should ever have to wonder where their next meal is coming from. With Food for Kids and School Pantries, Second Harvest provides children and their families with the food they need to thrive,” said Elaine Streno, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank. “We need your donations to help us continue to fight hunger and feed hope in East Tennessee.”

Second Harvest would like to thank Rand Property Management, NS4ED, Casey’s General Stores, Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow and Republic Plastics for their generosity and support.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, a member of Feeding America, has worked to compassionately feed East Tennesseans experiencing hunger since 1982. Second Harvest distributes over 22 million pounds of food across an 18-county service area through multiple feeding programs and 630+ community partners.

Cirrus Aircraft continues global expansion with new European locations

Friedrichshafen, Germany (27 April 2022) -- During the AERO Friedrichshafen press conference, Cirrus Aircraft announced its continued global expansion with investment in two new European locations to meet increasing customer demand. The company will open a European regional operations office in Rotterdam, Netherlands, scheduled to launch in June 2022, in addition to the recently announced aircraft sales presence based in Valenciennes, France.

“Cirrus Aircraft’s mission is to deliver a premium aviation experience and continue introducing the benefits of personal aviation to people around the world,” said Zean Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Cirrus Aircraft. “Our new locations and increased presence in France and the Netherlands will allow us to continue elevating the experience our current and future aircraft owners enjoy with Cirrus Aircraft.”

The expansion comes at a significant time for the aviation industry in Europe, as the upward trajectory of personal aviation interest continues to reach new heights due to renewed demand for premium leisure and business travel.

Cirrus France and Rotterdam will complement the existing European ecosystem of Cirrus Sales Agents (CSAs), Cirrus Training Centers (CTCs), and Authorized Service Centers (ASCs). Our European network includes five CSAs, 13 CTCs and 24 ASCs.

SR Series Deliveries Soar for Two Decades

The SR Series continued paving its legacy as the best-selling single-piston aircraft for two decades as the only certified, high-performance aircraft to achieve multipurpose personal, business and flight instruction functionality. In 2021, Cirrus Aircraft delivered 442 SR Series. The company has delivered over 8,500 SR Series aircraft with flight time surpassing 14 million hours since 1999.

With the 2022 G6 SR Series introduction, Cirrus Aircraft refined the aircraft design with reduced drag for increased fuel efficiency and added customer convenience features such as a keyless baggage door, Spectra™ illuminated steps and multifunctional USB panel charging for mobile devices. The Cirrus Aircraft Xi Design Studio captured audiences by revealing its all-new exterior paint collection and premium leather interior, offering customers a tailored 2022 G6 SR Series experience.

Cirrus IQ™ introduced a new status screen along with the Tech Pubs, Maintenance Minder, My Trips and Warranty sections, offering pilots advanced aircraft connectivity.

The company announced TRAC SR Series purchase agreements with United Aviate Academy and Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus. The TRAC SR Series are high-performance aircraft designed to meet training demands and prepare students for airline careers. The advanced training aircraft features a robust list of capabilities, including the Garmin® Perspective+ flight deck with dual 12-inch flight displays, a Flight Management System (FMS) keypad controller, and an Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) system, as well as an integrated engine indication and crew alerting/warning systems.

The G2+ Vision Jet® Adds 25% Takeoff Performance

The Vision Jet is the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet™ and has been best-selling for three years. The innovative Vision Jet continues to attract new customers with its award-winning Safe Return™ Emergency Autoland, flexible cabin configuration, unmatched ownership ecosystem and low operating cost. The G2+ Vision Jet now offers more mission capabilities with the optimized performance of the Williams International FJ33-5A engine providing a 25% improvement in takeoff performance in high-density altitudes (hot and high conditions). The G2+ Vision Jet achieves greater weight and range capacity from airports and improved climb gradients to reach altitudes faster.

Cirrus Aircraft provides a complete ecosystem to support and transition people to Vision Jet ownership. With JetStream, Vision Jet owners receive a maintenance package that includes regular wear item replacement, recurrent training and a dedicated level of support. The Vision Pilots and Owners (VPO) community is a program designed to help owners transition into the Vision Jet. The VPO features an exclusive website where position holders and owners can learn about the Vision Jet, jet ownership and gain direct access to Cirrus Aircraft’s Vision Jet experts. The program also features exclusive fly-in events, online tools and more.

In 2021, the company delivered 86 Vision Jets, with over 330 deliveries since entering the market in 2016. Over 650 pilots have completed their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type rating for the Vision Jet at the Vision Center in Knoxville, Tenn. The revolutionary Vision Jet has received certification by the FAA, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK for Safe Return Emergency Autoland.

Cirrus Approach™ Flight Training

Cirrus Approach is the industry-recognized comprehensive training program that provides a framework for pilots to learn and engage. The courses teach pilots to fly with the utmost skill and safety, offering in-depth, digital instruction on procedures to learn safe, predictable and repeatable skills. In 2021, Cirrus Approach grew to over 8,000 users, a 47% increase over last year and comprised primarily of pilots from the United States, Australia and Germany.

In addition to inviting more people into personal aviation, Cirrus Aircraft released complimentary refresher courses, including ‘Takeoffs and Landings’ and ‘Maneuvers,’ to aid pilot proficiency and safety.

Visit Cirrus Aircraft at AERO Friedrichshafen booth #A3-400.

About Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft is the recognized global leader in personal aviation and the maker of the best-selling SR Series piston aircraft and the Vision Jet®, the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet™, and the recipient of the Robert J. Collier Trophy. Founded in 1984, the company has redefined aviation performance, comfort and safety with innovations like the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) – the first FAA-certified whole-airframe parachute safety system included as standard equipment on an aircraft. To date, worldwide flight time on Cirrus aircraft has passed 14 million hours, and 220 people have returned home safely to their families as a result of the inclusion of CAPS as a standard feature on all Cirrus aircraft. The company has six locations in the United States, including Duluth, Minnesota; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Knoxville, Tennessee; Greater Dallas, Texas; Greater Phoenix, Arizona; and Greater Orlando, Florida. Learn more at cirrusaircraft.com.

KUB breaks ground on Knoxville’s first community solar array

Knoxville, TN –  KUB and its partners are introducing a new way to support solar power to the Knoxville-area community.

KUB Community Solar, a partnership between KUB, the City of Knoxville, and TVA, will provide homeowners, renters, and businesses the opportunity to subscribe to a portion of a 1 megawatt solar array. KUB invested $1.4 million to build the array, which will be placed on City of Knoxville property just off I-40.

“KUB Community Solar is the first of its kind for Knoxville, and we are honored to bring this option for locally generated solar energy to our community,” said Gabriel Bolas, KUB President and CEO. “KUB, along with our project partners, has been working hard to make this project a reality, and I am excited to kick off construction.”

The solar array will generate 1.36 gigawatt hours of solar power annually, avoiding approximately 964 metric tons of CO2e emissions. That amount is equal to saving more than 100,000 gallons of gasoline.

“Creating local projects like this community solar array was a priority for the members of my Climate Council to meet our greenhouse emissions goals,” said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “I’m happy we could partner with the KUB team to make this a reality, and we look forward to subscribing to support it.”

Solar Alliance Southeast, LLC is constructing the array. Once construction is complete, and the program launches later this year, customers can subscribe for a monthly fee. In exchange, customers will receive a financial credit for the amount of renewable energy produced by their share(s) of the solar panels. This provides a solution for many customers interested in solar.

“In some cases, we see a community member that wants to support solar energy, but their home is just not in the right orientation or the property is shaded,” Solar Alliance Vice President Harvey Abouelata said. “What KUB is offering with community solar is a solution to that, as well as a solution for renters.”

KUB Community Solar builds upon KUB’s long-standing commitment to renewable energy and environmental stewardship. In 2021, KUB announced a solar investment made through TVA’s Green Invest program that will result in 20% of KUB’s energy to come from solar by 2024.

“Renewable energy is deeply rooted in TVA's culture, and is a vital element as we deliver innovative solutions that transform our seven-state region and beyond,” said Don Moul, TVA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “This community solar facility demonstrates the strength of the Valley’s community energy model, as we work with KUB and the City of Knoxville, to build a greener future that leaves no one behind in the new clean energy economy.”

For more information about KUB Community Solar or to complete an interest survey, visit www.kub.org/communitysolar.

KUB is a municipal utility serving Knox and parts of seven adjacent counties and provides electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater services to more than 473,000 customers.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Windy Hill Farm and Preserve launches Summer Concert Series, opens to public