PRESS RELEASE from the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association, May 24, 2017:

A celebration of Local Wine, Art, Food, and Music!

For many years, Historic Watertown has been a destination for excursion train rides originating from the Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville, TN.  This year, in partnership with the Upper Cumberland Wine Trail and Nashville Wine on the Rails, the Watertown Chamber of Commerce would like to invite you to the 2017 Historic Watertown Wine Festival. This inaugural event will be held in the grassy field adjacent to the train landing built in 2000 and just a block or two from the square.

The Watertown Wine Festival will host the wineries of four Tennessee wine trails:  Upper Cumberland; Great Valley; Rocky Top and Foothills Wine & Cider Trail.  All of the wineries are offering tastings of their fine wines, with a selection to please everyone’s palate.

Many of these wines can only be purchased at the festivals as well as at the individual winery locations.

Visitors to the festival will be entertained by Gleen Martin; Lynn Beal Trio and
Sound by Scruggs Recording Studio

While tasting, you will have the opportunity to view and shop local art representing our area in Tennessee such as from the Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour and Appalachian Center for Craft, as well as other artists local to Watertown.

Within the festival area, small plates of food will be available to purchase from select area restaurants, Foglight Foodhouse, Nashville Jam Co., Mi Ranchito, and Harmony Lane Farm and Creamery will be offering their amazing creamy goat cheese and fudge.

Guests can also take a stroll up to the Historic Watertown square for more dining and shopping at the local businesses.

Date: June 3, 2017

Train participants will have exclusive time for the festival from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Festival gate opens to the public at 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Location: 101 S. Central Avenue Watertown, TN 37184

Free Parking available with trolley rides to and from the festival.

$30 Presale Tickets can be purchased at www.UpperCumberlandWineTrail.com, at Upper Cumberland Wine Trail wineries and some Watertown businesses.

$35 at the gate the day of the festival.

Designated Driver tickets are available for $10.

If you would enjoy the unique experience of traveling by train from the TCRY Museum in Nashville, you can purchase tickets online at www.WineOnTheRails.com or http://tcry.org/pass_ops.htm.

PRESS RELEASE from Tennessee Historical Commission, May 19, 2017:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Historical Commission announced today (May 19) the addition of eight Tennessee sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

“As Tennessee grows, it is important to recognize the unique historic places that help define us,” said Patrick McIntyre, state historic preservation officer and executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission. “The National Register is an honorary designation that emphasizes the importance of these special properties worth maintaining and passing along to future generations.”

Eight sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places are:

Cleveland Commercial Historic District (Cleveland – Bradley County)

The 65 buildings that make up the Cleveland Commercial Historic District represent the area that was historically the social, commercial, and governmental area of Bradley County. Cleveland developed on a grid pattern of streets with the county courthouse at the center. As the city grew a variety of new buildings and styles emerged. Buildings range in date from the 1850s to the 1960s and include Second Empire, Italianate, Classical Revival, and Mid-century Modern detailing. Many of the commercial buildings feature corbelled brick cornices, hood moldings, brackets, and large windows on their upper stories, while storefronts on the first story have been changed over the years. In 1965 the county built a new courthouse in the modernist Brutalism style. Although the architectural styles and functions of the buildings have changed, the area still functions as an important part of the city.

LaFollette Coke Ovens (LaFollette – Campbell County)

Beginning circa 1897, the LaFollette Coal, Iron, & Railway Company started purchasing land in Campbell County that eventually included 300 acres, two coal mines, an iron ore mine, a rock quarry, and coke ovens. Today, all that remains is approximately ten acres that includes remnants of the earlier industry, including two batteries of coke ovens. These ovens are the best representation of the important coal, iron, and rail industry in the region. The coal and coke ovens needed to process the material into useable fuel were once a vital industry in East Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau. After distilling in the ovens, the coke had fewer impurities and higher carbon content and could be used for ore smelting. The LaFollette Coke Ovens were closed in 1924 as more efficient methods of production were now in use.

Kern’s Bakery (Knoxville – Knox County)

Kern’s Bakery was established by Peter Kern in the 1860s in Knoxville. By 1931, when the current building was constructed on the Chapman Highway, Kern’s was owned by Brown-Greer & Company. The new building included offices, factory space, and a loading area. Having little ornamentation or embellishment on the façade, the new two-story brick building reflected the ideals of clean and modern manufacturing. Kern’s location on a major highway acted as a billboard advertising the company’s fresh baked breads. The company expanded their markets to other cities and states in the Southeast and the Kern’s brand was well-known in the region. The bakery was purchased by Sara Lee in 1989 and stopped production in 2012. Current plans are to redevelop the property using preservation tax incentives.

The Science Building (Cookeville – Putnam County)

The Science Building was built in 1929 as the first major educational building on the campus of Tennessee Technical University in Cookeville. Nashville-based architect Russell E. Hart designed the Colonial Revival style building. The imposing three-story brick building is embellished with multi-light windows, stone trim, and two-story stone columns. The main importance of the building is due to its association with T. J. Farr, the first administrative chair of the Education Department at the university. Farr’s office was in the building from 1929 until his retirement in 1962. He published extensively; promoted effective teaching methods, primarily for the rural areas of Tennessee; established the university’s poetry society; and was a founder, writer, and major advocate of the Tennessee Folklore Society. Farr became the first dean elected for the education department in 1949. In 1971 the university renamed the building the T. J. Farr building in honor of him.

William A. McMurry House (Springfield – Robertson County)

The William A. McMurry House in Springfield was built circa 1896 and extensively remodeled into its current form in the early 20th century. The two-story weatherboard house retains original Victorian-era details such as the projecting bays and shingled gables. Early 20th century Classical Revival features include the massive columns with Scamozzi capitals, symmetrical façade, and denticulated eaves. The importance of property is with William A. McMurry, who lived here from 1896 until his death in 1935. McMurry was an alderman from 1894-1899 and a tobacco dealer and investor in Robertson County. He was a tobacco agent for the Italian government, owned and operated several warehouses, and is credited with starting one of the first loose leaf auction houses in the city. McMurry was a founding member of the Springfield Tobacco Board of Trade and was considered by many of his peers to be the best judge of the quality of county’s dark-fired tobacco.

Rock of Ages Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (Memphis – Shelby County)

Designed by the Nashville architectural firm of McKissack and McKissack, the Rock of Ages Christian Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1955 in Memphis’ Binghampton neighborhood. At that time, McKissack and McKissack was the only African American architectural firm licensed in Tennessee. The stripped classicism of the company’s design reflects both a traditional design with post-WWII modern influences. McKissack and McKissack’s design of the two-story brick building is seen in the columned entry, symmetrical design, and brick pilasters. More important than the design of the building is the role it played in the early 1960s Civil Rights movement in Memphis. Although not as well-known as the 1968 sanitation worker’s strike, in 1960, 200 city sanitation workers met at the church to begin organizing for equal representation with the Teamsters Union. As the union organization movement grew, larger venues were needed. While the 1960 effort was not successful, it is considered a strategic moment in the city’s Civil Rights movement.

Charles Davis House (Collierville – Shelby County)

Located in Collierville, the Charles Davis House was built in 1841 and in 1855, Andrew Taylor purchased and remodeled the house as a gift to his daughter Laura Therese and her new husband Charles Davis. The two-story frame residence is a good example of a Greek Revival influenced I-house. Covered in shiplap, the most prominent feature of the house is the pedimented entry with square paneled columns and double-leaf doors, on both stories, that are flanked by glass and wood sidelights. Multi-light windows with shutters and pilasters on the exterior and paneled woodwork with shouldered architrave trim inside are important Greek Revival features of the house. The house stayed in the Davis and Taylor families until 1945 when the Porter family purchased the house and updated the interior. There are few changes to the historic architecture of the house.

Memphis Federation of Musicians Local 71 Building (Memphis – Shelby County)

Designed by Memphis Federation of Musicians member and local architect William Gaskill in 1961, the building is a modest example of the International Commercial style. Located at the edge of a residential area in Memphis, the stark concrete and brick veneer and unadorned aluminum windows are the features that define the style. More important than the style is the role the building had with the Memphis Sound, popularized by the city’s Stax Recording Studio. The sound was a Southern version of Soul music popular in the 1960s that included horns, organs, bass, and drums. Until the British Invasion of the Beatles and other groups, the Memphis Sound was at the height of popularity in pop music. As music tastes began to change and use and importance of Local 71 declined, as did its membership. Today the Memphis Symphony Orchestra makes up most of the local’s membership.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission, as the State Historic Preservation Office, administers the program in Tennessee.

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, May 25, 2017:

Tennessee State Parks Named Finalist for National Gold Medal Award

NASHVILLE – Tennessee State Parks, which are operated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, have been named a finalist for the 2017 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The awards are organized by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

“To be named a finalist for this prestigious award validates the commitments made by the Department, our parks staff, Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly to ensure the protection and preservation of our natural, cultural and historic resources in Tennessee,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “We have worked hard over the past six years to add three new parks and more than 30,000 acres to our system, to protect and preserve our resources, and to enhance the visitors’ experience at our parks with improved facilities and expanded interpretive programming. We are very excited and proud that these efforts are being recognized at the national level.”

Since 2011, in an effort to provide a better visitor experience, TDEC has renovated or constructed more than 30 park facilities across the state, including 10 campgrounds and made ADA upgrades at four parks. Highlights of recent park additions include a new Visitors Center at Bledsoe Creek State Park, a new Group Camp at Booker T. Washington State Park and a converted Interpretive Center at Cumberland Mountain State Park. Visitation at Tennessee State Parks has increased by nearly 15 percent, thanks in part to enhanced interpretive programming and unique recreation excursions through Tennessee’s most scenic natural places.

“During my time with Tennessee State Parks, we have worked with the legislature, local communities and non-government organizations to protect more land, preserve Tennessee’s cultural and historical heritage, and make unique recreation opportunities available for visitors,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Conservation Brock Hill. “We are proud to have accomplished so much and be included in this fine group of finalists who represent the esteemed network that is the United States’ state park systems.”

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems awarded on odd numbered years.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Tennessee State Parks joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year: Arizona State Parks and Trails, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, and Wyoming State Parks – Historic Sites and Trails.

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Sept. 26-28, 2017.

Musco Lighting LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program for more than 10 years. For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal or www.aapra.org.

Tennessee State Parks was established in 1937 to protect and preserve the unique natural, cultural and historic resources of Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation exists to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Tennessee and to be stewards of our natural environment by: protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee’s air, land and water through a responsible regulatory system; protecting and promoting human health and safety; conserving and promoting natural, cultural and historic resources; and providing a variety of quality outdoor recreational experiences. For more information, visit http://tnstateparks.com/ and http://tn.gov/environment.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit www.aapra.org.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit www.musco.com.

There’s obvious truth in the observation that unforeseen slips often come ‘twixt cup and lip. It’s easy to forget, though, that much goes into making the cup’s contents worthy of attempting a sip to begin with.

Local roasting experts agree that starting with freshly roasted coffee beans makes all the difference.

Coffee flavor stems from the bean itself and Eric Tate of Bootleg Roasting Company takes time to learn the best roasting profile for each bean he sells.

Bootleg specializes in a dark roast, but they have found certain high-end beans, such as those from Hawaii’s famed Kona Region, taste much better at a medium to light roast. BRC, derived their name as a joke about being a black-market bean provider: they were an underground source for fantastic coffee for their family and friends.

Calfkiller Brewing Company’s fire-roasted blend sprung from roaster Don Sergio’s love of a quality cup of coffee and a need for something special to add to a coffeehouse stout beer. After experimenting with a homemade contraption over an open fire, Sergio developed his own roasting system to take advantage of his unique take on flame-based roasting.

It isn’t too difficult to fashion your own intermediate-sized coffee roaster, like this one one built into a propane grill.

Roasters in our region all tell a similar tale that starts with equal parts love of good coffee and passion for local marketing. They began roasting at home, then grew to providing coffee for family and friends. They built their own intermediate-sized roasters – each adding a unique take on the concept. And as their skills developed, they took the plunge into the retail market.

Yet there is more to roasting coffee than simply applying heat to a green bean, according to Zach Buckner of Broast in Cookeville.

Ambient temperature, airflow and relative humidity can impact the speed of the roast as well as the flavor of the end product. Buckner compares using freshly roasted coffee to using fresh herbs.

Buckner says there is just no comparison between a coffee roasted four days ago and one that has been sitting on a shelf for six months. In sum: Freshness matters.

With the growing number of micro-roasters in the Upper Cumberland region, there is likely a fresh bean that meets the preference of any coffee drinker. Consider trying something new in your morning brew from a local craftsman.

Local Microroasters
● Calfkiller, Sparta: http://calfkillerbrewingco.storenvy.com/
● Broast, Cookeville: http://www.broasttn.com/
● Bootleg Roasting Co., Cookeville: https://www.facebook.com/bootlegroastingco/
● Holler Roast Coffee, Lancaster: HollerHomestead.com

Nicole Sauce is a local coffee roaster, backwoods podcaster and publisher of Center Hill Sun. Learn more about her homesteading endeavors at LivingFreeinTennessee.com.

PRESS RELEASE from Science Applications International Corp., May 22:

SAIC Will Create 300 Tech Jobs in Putnam County over Five Years
MCLEAN, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE:SAIC) announced today that it is establishing its first center of excellence to deliver information technology services in Cookeville, Tennessee. It will be named the Technology Integration Gateway™ and is slated to open this summer. The center will employ 300 information technology (IT) professionals over the next five years, expanding SAIC’s footprint in Tennessee to 900, further supporting economic development.

Recruiting efforts are already underway, and the company has hired 35 individuals that will work at the Technology Integration Gateway™ in support of multiple programs including the recently announced Federal Systems Integration and Management System (FEDSIM) task order that will deliver, manage and evolve end-user IT services communication and collaboration tools for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Technology Integration Gateway™ will create a wide range of technology jobs, including roles in information technology services, computer programming, engineering and software development. In addition, the Cookeville location will also provide cloud, cyber security and data science expertise to both government and commercial SAIC customers. The Technology Integration Gateway™ will serve as a primary “entry point” for SAIC to provide customers with these critical IT services in a more agile and cost-effective manner and will be located in the Regions Bank Building at 10 West Broad St.

“Since 1969, SAIC has been doing business in Tennessee and the establishment of our first Technology Integration Gateway™ here underscores our long-term commitment to the state,” SAIC CEO Tony Moraco, said. “We are excited to add Cookeville as our newest location and appreciate the strong support from Governor Haslam, Economic & Community Development, Tennessee Tech University, Putnam County and the City of Cookeville in our efforts to bring this important resource to Cookeville. Together, we are focused on ensuring that we continue to develop a 21st century workforce in a collaborative environment to address our customers’ most critical IT missions.”

About SAIC

SAIC is a premier technology integrator providing full life cycle services and solutions in the technical, engineering, intelligence, and enterprise information technology markets. SAIC is Redefining Ingenuity through its deep customer and domain knowledge to enable the delivery of systems engineering and integration offerings for large, complex projects. SAIC’s more than 15,000 employees are driven by integrity and mission focus to serve customers in the U.S. federal government. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, SAIC has annual revenues of approximately $4.5 billion. For more information, visit saic.com. For ongoing news, please visit our newsroom.

Certain statements in this announcement constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties and a number of factors could cause our actual results, performance, achievements, or industry results to be very different from the results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the risk factors set forth in SAIC’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and other such filings that SAIC makes with the SEC from time to time, which may be viewed or obtained through the Investor Relations section of our web site at www.saic.com. Due to such uncertainties and risks, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, May 19, 2017:

TFWC to Set Hunting Seasons at May Meeting to Be Held on Campus of Bryan College

NASHVILLE — The state’s 2017-18 hunting seasons will be set when the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission holds its next meeting, May 23-24 on the campus of Bryan College in Dayton.

The meeting will begin on Tuesday, May 23 at 1 p.m. (EDT) with the committee sessions. The formal meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24. The location is in the Rhea County room.

At the TFWC’s April meeting, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency staff presented recommendations for the 2017-18 hunting seasons, offering few changes to its regulations. TWRA staff will review this year’s proposals and address specific questions raised during last month’s meeting. The full commission vote on the proclamation is Thursday.

After hearing the agency’s proposals in April, the TFWC discussed turkey harvest and bag limits, possibilities of minor changes in bear hunting days and establishing a consistent opening day, and the definition of what constitutes an antlered buck. The commission is expected to continue the discussion during the May meeting.

Various changes were recommended on wildlife management areas, public hunting areas, and national wildlife refuges. A public comment period on the proposals was held through May 15.

Former commissioner David Watson will be recognized at the meeting. The Lookout Mountain resident was elected as the TFWC vice chairman in February, but stepped away from the commission due to health reasons.

Members of the Birchwood Area Society Improvement Council will be recognized. The TWRA and the council have worked together the past 26 years to host the annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.

Brandt Information Services representatives will present details for a digital marketing proposal. Brandt became the agency’s new license vendor last Oct. 31.

Jennifer Wisniewski, the Georgia Department of marketing and communication director, will share her Email marketing experience in her state.

—TWRA—

– See more at: https://www.tn.gov/news/50629#sthash.rn7htL2U.dpuf

PRESS RELEASE from Edgar Evins State Park, May 19, 2017:

Join Park Rangers & the Seasonal Naturalist for daily boat tours to view a magnificent display of this infrequent Tennessee wildflower, and other species endemic to the limestone bluffs on Center Hill Reservoir.

Be sure to arrive prepared for sun & rain exposure, and to bring your binoculars. Bottled water and a bagged lunch also recommended.

Meet at Edgar Evins Marina. Please arrive 15 minutes prior. Boat will leave promptly at 10:00am. Duration: approximately 3 hrs.

Limit 12 people per tour. Tour is $10 per adult, and $5 for children 16 and under. Sorry, no children under 3 years of age. To sign up, call (931) 858-2114 or (931) 982-3918, or email Ranger Mark at Mark.Taylor@tn.gov . You may also sign up online at the park website under upcoming events.

Saturday, May 27th

10:00 AM FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY: Meet at the Visitor’s Center to witness this traditional and moving ceremony for our country’s flag. All are welcome.

3:00 PM Millennium Trail Nature Hike: Meet the Sarah for a hike on the Millennium Trail to discover the flora and fauna of the park. Wear sturdy boots and bug repellant. This hike is a moderately strenuous 2.5 mile hike. Meet at the Millennium Trail Parking area.
6:00 PM Nature Detectives: Join Sarah for a scavenger hunt nature style! We’ll take a short hike and look for wildlife, plants, tracks, and things that aren’t supposed to be out there as well. Meet at the Campground Store. Approximately 1 mile. Please wear sturdy shoes.

8:00 PM Tennessee Ghost Stories: From east to west, Tennessee is rich with spooky tales. Gather in the Fire Circle in the Campgrounds for some good, old-fashioned ghost stories. Benches are present, but you can bring a chair if you have one. Don’t forget your marshmallows!

Sunday, May 28th

2:00 PM HONEYSUCKLE BASKETS: Turn a noxious weed into a work of art! Meet in the Camp Store to weave your very own basket out of honeysuckle vines. All ages welcome.

4:00 PM SNAKES!: Meet Sarah at the Interpretive Center for a fun and informative presentation about our local snake species. Afterwards you will get the chance to pet a live snake!

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, May 18, 2017:

TDEC Announces 2017 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award Winners

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today announced the winners of the 2017 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards. Winners will be recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony to be held in Nashville on June 16.

“These organizations represent the spirit and drive that make the Volunteer State great,” Haslam said. “I thank all of the winners for their individual contributions to the environment and for keeping Tennessee a beautiful state in which to live and work and to visit.”

The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect our environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation. In its 31st year, this year’s awards program covers nine categories: Building Green; Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach; Environmental Education and Outreach (school category); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; and Sustainable Performance.

“I applaud all who were nominated and those who won for working to protect our state’s natural resources in an efficient, sustainable way,” Martineau said. “Voluntary actions are crucial to safeguard and improve our natural environment.”

The 2017 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award recipients are:

  • Belmont University – Davidson County
  • Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority – Hamilton County
  • City of Lebanon – Wilson County
  • Keep Knoxville Beautiful – Knox County
  • Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization – Knox County
  • Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority – Davidson County
  • Nashville Fire Department Station 19 – Davidson County
  • New Hope Christian Academy – Shelby County
  • Sherwood Forest Project – Davidson County
  • Suttree Landing Park – Knox County
  • The Nashville Food Project – Davidson County

The 2017 awards roster includes two Pursuit of Excellence Awards, which recognize past award winners who continue to demonstrate a high regard for environmental stewardship practices. The winner of one additional honor, the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the awards ceremony.

A panel of 22 professionals representing agricultural, conservation, forestry, environmental and academic professionals judged more than 89 nominations and selected this year’s award recipients based on criteria including on-the-ground achievement, innovation and public education. More information about the Awards can be found here: http://tn.gov/environment/topic/sp-gesa-governors-environmental-stewardship-awards.

Details about each award winner can be found below:

Category: Sustainable Performance
Winner: Belmont University, Davidson County

Belmont University’s R. Milton and Denice Johnson Center received its LEED Gold certification in April of 2016. This building is home to Belmont’s campus dining facility, the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, programs in Media Studies and a new major on campus, Motion Pictures. The 134,000 sq. ft. building sits atop a 1,000+ space parking garage. This parking garage and others on campus have free charging stations for electric vehicles and designated spaces for car/vanpool and fuel efficient vehicles. Two of the garages have been upgraded with LED lights and fixtures to cut both energy use and utility costs. The building also boasts a geothermal heating and cooling system and a composting operation. The heating and cooling system is expected to yield a savings of 40 percent in energy annually. The composting system converts food and cardboard waste into enriched soil additives through large dehydrators, which reduces overall waste from food operations. It also helps divert waste from landfills. The University has installed a stormwater run-off collection system that collects in underground storage tanks. The collection tank is one-third the size of an Olympic swimming pool and has allowed Belmont to utilize over 12 million gallons of reclaimed water for irrigation in 2016. Belmont now has three buildings on campus that are LEED certified and eight buildings that have been built with sustainable features. The University continues to take a comprehensive look at how they can be environmentally sensitive and be a leader in sustainability and environmental responsibility among universities.

Category: Clean Air
Winner: Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, Hamilton County
The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), with funding provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority, launched an integrated public Level 2 charging and electric vehicle car share network along its existing public transit system. There are 56 charging stations across 20 locations and energy use is offset by three new solar power generators, with a combined capacity of 80kW. The total emissions reduction equaled 530 tons of CO2 with the implementation of this program. CARTA recognized the value in promoting multimodal travel solutions that can be integrated into the transit system. Electric charging and car share station sites were designed to coordinate with CARTA’s mainline bus and Electric Shuttle routes, Bike Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System locations and key downtown parking garages. Additionally, CARTA selected Green Commuter to launch the state’s first all-electric public car share system, with the initial deployment of 20 Nissan LEAFs in Chattanooga. These vehicles use the public charging stations and are maintained and sponsored by Green Commuter.

Category: Energy and Renewable Resources
Winner: City of Lebanon: Waste to Energy, Wilson County
The City of Lebanon has started operating a downdraft gasification plant at its wastewater treatment facility. The gasification initiative is the first in the nation and the largest downdraft gasifer in the world. The facility cost was a little over $3.5 million, diverting 8,000 tons (equivalent to a line of semi-trucks four miles long) of wood and sludge waste from the local landfill, and converting 36,000 Tennessee scrap rubber tires into energy annually. This will eliminate 2,500 tons of carbon emissions per year. The facility produces a leftover carbon-rich biochar that the city plans to sell to local farmers to fertilize crops as a potential new revenue stream. The plant also has the capacity to generate 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity behind the meter, which has the ability to power 312 homes. In addition to gasification, Lebanon is taking steps to support the only commuter rail system in Middle Tennessee by installing one MW of solar arrays at both the water and wastewater treatment plant to offset the electrical costs, starting a pilot recycling program for residents, and continuing the conversion of city vehicles from fossil fuels to natural gas.

Category: Environmental Education and Outreach
Winner: Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Knox County
Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB), founded in 1978 to help clean up the city prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, is a locally-funded, non-profit, independent affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. In 2016, KKB accelerated their educational outreach programs by facilitating over 65 neighborhood, waterway and roadside cleanups, collecting over 36 tons of roadside waste and three tons of recyclables, and removing over 100 waste tires from roadsides and waterways. KBB facilitated and supported over 1,600 volunteers to work nearly 4,000 hours and mobilized their recycling trailer at seven public events. KKB reached nearly 400 students at 23 educational engagement presentations and presented as educational exhibitors at over 20 public events. KKB instituted four new programs in 2016 to engage more of the community. These programs include “Trash Runs”, which are geared toward rapid trash removal and the “Beautification Mobs” to create long-lasting visual enhancements to entrance corridors along interstates. KKB also bought a recycling trailer that provides an organized recycling receptacle for public events. The trailer is painted with mission specific messaging to facilitate education and outreach while providing a community service. KKB also added to their event list the Rocky Top Pickin’ Party, which is a fall fundraiser with local musicians.

Category: Pursuit of Excellence
Winner: Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization: Smart Trips, Knox County
Smart Trips provides an incentive-based reward program for businesses and commuters who choose to unburden the transportation system through various green trips, including telecommuting, ride-sharing, carpooling, biking, walking, bus and transit. The program collects data on historically not well-documented data of alternative transit trips. Enhanced reporting on alternative trips provides a more holistic view of the regional transit system in the Knoxville area and leads to enhancements for all roadway users. Relative to the affordability of gasoline and the increase in single occupancy vehicle trips, Smart Trips is experiencing an increase in active users, whose trip reporting indicates a rising trend in longer and more diverse trips. The program began in 2003 and grew exponentially in 2012 by adding over 1,000 registered commuters. To date they have had over 949,969 registered commuters logging multiple modes of commuting. Smart Trips users logged 17,908,426 miles in “alternative” commutes over the last six years, including carpool, vanpool, transit, bicycle, walking, telework and compressed workweeks. This represents 8,414,344 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions prevented as well as significant reductions of NOx, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and other tailpipe air pollutants.

Category: Pursuit of Excellence
Winner: Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Davidson County
The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) has continued to build on their core values of sustainability while having a visible impact to their 12.2 million visitors. MNAA has added compressed natural gas (CNG) shuttles and buses to their fleet. In 2016, MNAA saw an opportunity to use their limestone quarry to provide a water-source lake plate geothermal cooling system that would support the cooling load of the nearly 900,000 sq. ft. terminal building. MNAA rolled out 20 new CNG powered shuttles to service parking lots at the Nashville International Airport (BNA). These consist of 15, 24-passenger shuttles, two 29-passenger shuttles, and three 14-passenger shuttles. These shuttles join eight new BNA Express Park CNG powered shuttles that were put into service in June 2016. Based on an annual estimated consumption of 300,000 gallons of diesel, greenhouse gas emissions at the airport shuttle operations will be reduced by 14 percent. This equates to an annual reduction of 587 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. These improvements help the health and well-being of the public who flies in and out of the facilities as well as the employees and workers who support the aviation operations.

MNAA identified a way to harness the thermal properties of deep water which had accumulated over decades in an abandoned quarry on airport property. The $10.4 million cold deep water system is used to cool the entire terminal building, reduce the use of electricity, and reduce potable water consumption by providing irrigation means for airport landscaping.

Category: Building Green
Winner: Nashville Fire Department Station 19, Davidson County
Nashville Fire Department Station 19 is the first LEED Platinum certified fire station for new construction in the entire Southeast. The station’s eco-friendly design resulted in a 60 percent diversion of construction waste from a landfill, one-third less water use and a 44 percent reduction in energy costs. Fifteen percent of the building’s electricity use is provided by its 33kW solar panel array and 31 percent of all materials used were regionally manufactured or locally sourced, with 16 percent of the building materials being recycled. In 2016, Fire Station 19 saved over $11,000 in electricity costs compared to a comparable building, and generated nearly 39,000 kWh of solar energy. Lighting levels were optimized to provide only the required light needed in corridors, which led to a 41 percent reduction in lighting power density. Additionally, Fire Station 19 is sub-metered in real time. Every circuit in the facility is directly monitored for energy consumption on a second-to-second basis so problems can be detected immediately and city energy managers can respond accordingly.

Category: Environmental Education and Outreach
Winner: New Hope Christian Academy, Shelby County
New Hope Christian Academy’s students are actively learning environmental stewardship through several education programs including the school’s urban garden. The school addresses education as it relates to energy conservation measures, recycling and composting with outreach to students and their families to make them aware of how to care for the environment and sustainability both at home and school. In January 2016, the school had a “Bust the Energy Hog” campaign where classrooms were equipped with light switch plates reminding them to conserve energy and thermometers to monitor their room temperature. Classrooms were awarded with “Bacon Bucks” when they were discovered doing a good job. Each classroom has recycling bins and faculty is proactively working to become paper free by having students turn in assignments online and sending emails and texts to parents. Through the recycling program, the school recycled 15,000 pounds of paper and cardboard in 2016. New Hope collected over 300 bags of raked leaves from families last fall as well as food compost material from school meals. The material is used to enhance soil for the school’s urban farm, which they created from a nearby vacant lot. The urban farm is used as an outdoor classroom to teach students about plants and the food that comes from them. During the growing season, they have a Pay-What-You-Can-Veggie Stand, where parents can get organic foods at affordable prices. New Hope has two bee hives at the farm as well, where fifth grade students harvest the honey, bottle it, and sell it within the school community.

Category: Natural Heritage
Winner: Sherwood Forest Project, Davidson County
The Sherwood Forest Project has added 4,061 acres of high-quality forestland and critical habitat to the public land areas in the South Cumberland region. The project involved purchasing the additional acres from a private mining company. Funding was made available from the Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund, through the merit-based Forest Legacy Program, and implemented in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The additional acreage was added to the approximately 41,000 acres of already protected forestland, including Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Franklin State Forest, Carter State Natural Area, and Walls of Jericho State Natural Area. Acquisition of this land ensures the protection of habitats critical for federally-listed endangered, threatened or federal candidate species, including the endangered Morefield’s leather flower and the federally-threatened painted snake coiled forest snail. Additionally, two rare animals, the Eastern small-footed bat and Allegheny woodrat, are protected by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. These animals have been recorded on the property along with four-toed salamanders, barking tree frogs, and Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, which are state-protected animals. The 4,061-acre tract also contains the Griffin Shelter, which is the only excavated prehistoric rock art site in Tennessee. There are four panels of elaborate and deeply incised petroglyphs and artifacts used to carve the art and perform sacred activities. The project also protects over eight miles of stream and riparian habitat in the Guntersville Lake watershed, which are critical for protecting drinking water quality for the community of Sherwood.

Category: Land Use
Winner: Suttree Landing Park, Knox County
As you walk through Suttree Landing, Knoxville’s new downtown eight-acre linear park, it is hard to imagine that from the 1940s until 2004, this was an industrial site home to a bulk oil storage facility, a textile dying operation and an engine parts manufacturer. To facilitate this transformation, the City of Knoxville successfully negotiated a Brownfield Voluntary Agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Remediation in 2010. Six years later, the city has a beautiful, multi-use riverfront park. This project illustrates that the conversion of a Brownfield site into an outdoor recreation space can be accomplished through strategic planning, partnerships, community involvement and active stakeholder involvement toward a common vision. The city applied for and received a $400,000 Community-Wide Brownfield Assessment Grant from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess properties along the waterfront. The collaborative effort between EPA, the City of Knoxville and TDEC identified 12 sites with significant redevelopment potential. Two of the sites were used for Suttree Landing Park. With the creation of the park came the connection of the Urban Wilderness in South Knoxville, a recreation, cultural and historic preservation initiative, incorporating 1,000 forested acres in and around the South Waterfront. The park contains a Riverwalk, two festival lawns, four overlook areas with seat walls and picnic tables, an ADA-accessible children’s playground, a put-in area for kayaks and canoes, and a surface parking lot for larger events. The park festival lawn has an irrigation system that pumps water from the river, reducing the need for potable water on site. Bioswales were installed to manage water runoff and tolerate periodic flooding. The Riverwalk consists of a six-foot wide soft surface running trail, a five-foot furnishing zone composed of bike racks, benches, and lighting, and a 12-foot hard surface, and a multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Category: Materials Management
Winner: The Nashville Food Project, Davidson County
The Nashville Food Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food, with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger in Nashville. This is critical work as 17 percent of Tennessee residents do not have enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. In 2016, The Nashville Food Project recovered more than 120,000 pounds of edible healthy surplus food from local farms, grocers and restaurants. With the majority of the food used in their Meals Program, they were able to provide more than 3,100 meals to vulnerable communities each week. These weekly meals are shared in partnership with more than 27 local nonprofits. The Nashville Food Project strives for maximum sustainability throughout their meals programs by sharing meals in compostable clamshell containers. Meals are supplemented with local, sustainably-grown food and they dedicate a portion of their food budget to their local farmer investment expenditure. Purchasing produce from local farmers supports the farmer, the farmer’s sustainable practices and the local economy. Any food that is not fit for human consumption is fed to The Nashville Food Project’s flock of urban chickens or added to their compost system. This in turn supports their production gardens, which produced over 6,200 pounds of organically-grown produce for meals in 2016. The Nashville Food Project’s four community gardens provide land, resources and training to empower 100 low-income families, immigrants and refugees to support their families’ food and financial needs. They are actively working towards a system of zero food waste.

PRESS RELEASE from the office of Governor Bill Haslam; May 16, 2017

Part of Haslam’s NextTennessee legislative agenda, #TNWeCanBe

BROWNSVILLE – Before a meeting of the Governor’s Rural Development Task Force at H&R Agri-Power, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam held a ceremonial signing of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, the governor’s legislation to increase broadband access to Tennessee’s unserved citizens.

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act permits Tennessee’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide retail broadband service, and it provides $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits for service providers to assist in making broadband available to unserved homes and businesses. In addition, the plan makes grant funding available to the state’s local libraries to help residents improve their digital literacy skills and maximize the benefits of broadband.

Tennessee currently ranks 29th in the U.S. for broadband access, with 34 percent of rural Tennessee residents lacking access at recognized minimum standards.

“More than 800,000 Tennesseans don’t have access to broadband, and one in three businesses identified it as essential to selecting their location. Spurring deployment in our rural, unserved areas will open them up to economic investment and growth,” Haslam said. “I want to thank the General Assembly for its overwhelming support, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) for carrying this legislation, which provides a reasonable, responsible path to improve broadband access through investment, deregulation and education.”

The House of Representatives passed HB 529/SB 1215 93-4 on April 10, and the Senate passed the legislation 31-0 on April 3. The legislation came after a year of study and stakeholder conversations by the administration.

In July 2016, the Department of Economic and Community Development released a commissioned study assessing broadband in Tennessee and options for increasing access and utilization. In addition, a report issued by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR), which completed extensive work on the subject of broadband accessibility and adoption, significantly contributed to Haslam’s broadband proposal.

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act is part of Haslam’s NextTennessee legislative plan aimed at building and sustaining economic growth and the state’s competitiveness for the next generation of Tennesseans.

See more at: https://www.tn.gov/news/50566#sthash.vrw7x2hG.dpuf

Time to mark your calendars to start setting aside a little early evening time on the third Friday of each month for dropping by the Sparta Green Market.

The monthly festival of fresh food, open-air local shopping and lively music begins Friday at Metcalfe Park near Liberty Square in downtown Sparta.

Starting at 4.pm., it’ll include a full pavilion of food and craft vendors, talented musicians and entertainment for kids.

Green Market chairwoman Margaret Petre says to expect more than two dozen booths and attractions at the May 19 fest, including local beef-raisers, bakers, produce growers, face painters, balloon-animal designers and honey producers. Featured musicians scheduled to perform include Green Market veteran Whitney Newport, a keyboardist back for her third season, and guitarist Eli Payne, who’ll be playing the market for the first time.

The Green Market takes special pride in attracting and displaying “top quality products from the Sparta area,” said Petre.

In addition to free entertainment and educational booths, the market provides a vibrant hub for buying and selling local meat, fruits and veggies, honey, flowers, eggs and a whole lot more, she said.

“An evening event in Sparta is a good way for families and friends to eat dinner downtown, visit local businesses, enjoy the Green Market, and listen to a free bluegrass concert starting at 7 p.m.,” Petre said.

Don’t forget: it is always a good idea to bring chairs and an iced cooler for meats, poultry or other items you might purchase at the market. Also, because Sparta Green Market is in fact a “green” outing, organizers encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags for produce and other goods they purchase. No smoking or pets are allowed.

For more information, contact Ms. Petre at spartagreenmarket@gmail.com, or send a message on Facebook.