Knoxville launches new website

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Arts & Culture Alliance has launched, an online, searchable database of creative spaces in the Greater Knoxville area. The exciting new resource allows artists, creatives and makers of all kinds to more easily find and book space they need for rehearsals, dance classes, workshops, photo/film locations, auditions.

Spaces included on the website currently include: The Basement Community Art Studio, The Bijou Theatre, Broadway Academy of Performing Arts and Event Center, Candoro Arts and Heritage Center, The Center for Creative Minds, The Central Collective, Chilhowee Park, Clarence Brown Lab Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre Mainstage, The Emporium Center, The Hive, The Jackson Terminal, Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center, Knoxville Botanical Garden & Arboretum, Knoxville Convention Center, Mabry-Hazen House, Marble Springs State Historic Site, McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, Mighty Mud, Modern Studio, The Muse Knoxville, New Harvest Park Community Building, Powell Recital Hall, The Standard, Street Beatz Studio, Striped Light, Sundress Academy for the Arts, Tennessee Theatre, Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre, and UT Gardens. More spaces will be added as they come online.

“We’re thrilled to be able to announce this new resource for local artists,” says Liza Zenni, Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance. “We want to help artists, creatives and makers of all kinds find useful spaces throughout Knoxville for the execution and presentation of their work. Spaces including auditoriums, commercial spaces, dance studios, galleries, and more all have a place in these important processes.”

The directory on may be searched by keyword and/or zip code to access an interactive map of nearby rentable locations. Image of the view next to the Knoxville Sunsphere courtesy of Knoxville Convention Center.

KCDC improves housing properties

KNOXVILLE, TN – Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) recently approved a $33.1 million rehabilitation initiative at three affordable housing properties. In total, 705 units at Lonsdale Homes, North Ridge Crossing and The Vista at Summit Hill will undergo significant improvements with an emphasis on energy efficiency and quality of life for residents. The plans include better insulation, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, plumbing repairs, roof replacement and new windows, flooring, cabinets and countertops.

“This initiative will yield significant benefits for the three properties and the residents we serve,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “The physical condition of these properties will be greatly enhanced and that, in turn, leads to lower operational and maintenance costs.”

The improvements, which are scheduled to be completed in 21 months, will be funded with a combination of low-income housing tax credits and multifamily housing bonds.

Sean Gilbert, KCDC’s senior vice president of housing, said the breakdown includes 260 units at Lonsdale Homes ($11.9 million); 270 units at North Ridge Crossing ($13 million); and 175 units at The Vista at Summit Hill ($8.2 million).

The plans are part of KCDC’s transition of its public housing stock to the rental assistance demonstration (RAD) program, which was created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2012 to help agencies continue their housing mission without dependence on federal funds. The program allows housing agencies to leverage public and private debt and equity to reinvest in their properties.

About Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency. For more information, call 865-403- 1100 or visit

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) recently announced a $33.1 rehabilitation initiative at three affordable housing properties: Lonsdale Homes, North Ridge Crossing (pictured) and The Vista at Summit Hill. The improvements will improve energy efficiency and quality of life for residents. Photo submitted.

Economic announcement scheduled

KNOXVILLE, TN – On Monday, September 11, 2017 at 4:45 PM, the Arts & Culture Alliance and the Tennessee Arts Commission will hold a joint presentation to announce the results of the recent Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) study that measured the cumulative economic impact of the non-profit arts sector in the region and across the state. The presentation will be held at the Knoxville Museum of Art, 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive. Presenters include Anne Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission and Liza Zenni, Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance.

“We are delighted to be able to have our economic impact figures validated by the professionals with Americans for the Arts,” says Liza Zenni. “Community leaders should no longer be surprised when outside experts, number crunchers and data collectors tell them that 9 percent of Greater Knoxville’s population is employed in an arts-related job.”

“By every measure, the results of Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 prove that the arts are an industry—a generator of government revenue, a cornerstone of tourism, and an employment powerhouse both locally and across the nation,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Leaders who care about community and economic vitality, growing tourism, attracting an innovative workforce, and community engagement can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts.”

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts and supported by The Ruth Lilly Fund of Americans for the Arts.

KCDC expands available housing

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has issued a request for proposals to award up to 300 Section 8 Project-Based Vouchers to developers for existing, new or rehabilitated housing units. The vouchers, known as PBVs, will increase the availability of affordable housing in Knoxville and Knox County.

“This is a significant step toward building the supply of affordable housing in our community,” said Ben Bentley, executive director and CEO of KCDC. “We encourage area developers to review the requirements of the PBVs and submit proposals.”

PBVs provide stability to affordable housing stock. As opposed to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers that are issued to individuals or families, PBVs are attached to housing units. Owners of PBV units agree to rent the units to eligible tenants for the duration of the contract, which may range from 10 to 20 years.

Details about the request for proposals (RFP) for the Project-Based Vouchers are available at KCDC will accept proposals through June 30, 2019, or until issuance of 300 vouchers. KCDC plans to review proposals quarterly.

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing high-quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency.

For more information, call 865-403- 1100 or visit

IRR announces business merger

Integra Realty Resources  in Jackson/Gulfport and Integra Realty Resources in Memphis have announced a merger that will expand IRR’s services in the Mid-South region. IRR offices in Jackson, Gulfport and Memphis — covering Mississippi, western Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas, provide commercial real estate consultation services.

“We’re expanding our resources and our ability to serve clients more productively and opening up new markets within specialty valuation practices,” said James “Jim” Turner, MAI, director of appraisal production for the combined offices.

IRR – Memphis’ focus in multi-family residential and industrial valuations and litigation joins IRR – Jackson/Gulfport’s expertise in multi-tenant office and retail, right-of- way, going concern business and large retail and hospitality valuation. The team now includes seven MAI-designated appraisal professionals and eight additional appraisal analysts on staff.

John R. Praytor, MAI, serves as senior managing director in Jackson. J. Walter Allen, MAI, is senior managing director in Memphis. Recent promotions include Michelle Alexander, MAI and a HUD approved MAP appraiser, to managing

director of multi-family residential valuations; Jonathan Stone, MAI, to director of industrial valuations; Eugene K. “Kenny” Owen Jr., Certified General Appraiser, to director of going concern business, hospitality, convenience store and self storage valuations. Jennifer C. Rigby, MAI, will serve as director of quality control and appraisal review, and Leslie R. North, MAI, will serve as managing director in Gulfport and support quality control for the south Mississippi market.

Art Market seeks artists

Knoxville’s Art Market Gallery is currently accepting applications for a Sunday, August 27, 2017 membership jury. Acceptance for membership is determined by a jury of six active gallery members and is based on the quality of the applicant’s work; the applicant’s ability to be involved in a cooperative effort; as well as, the needs of the gallery.

Patrons enjoy visiting the Art Market Gallery in downtown Knoxville during a recent First Friday celebration, a city-wide event with open house opportunities at local businesses. Photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Currently the gallery is accepting applications from artists in ​2D & 3D media​. Prospective members may deliver four pieces of their work and completed application form with $30 jury fee to the gallery at 422 South Gay Street in downtown Knoxville.

Delivery may be made 11:00 am – 5:30 pm Tuesday, August 22nd through Saturday, August 26th, 2017.

Instructions and an application form are available at​.

Business networking event offered

Small and midsized businesses interested in working with local governments can meet with up to 20 municipalities, plus multiple tradeshow vendors, in one stop at the East Tennessee Purchasing Association’s (ETPA) 12 th Annual Business Matching and Tradeshow event on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

The event will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rothchild Conference and Catering Center, 8807 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Registration is free for attendees.

Attendees will be able to connect with cities, counties and other agencies to get information about their purchasing processes and contract opportunities. In addition to the tradeshow, breakfast and lunch sessions with governmental procurement agents will be available.

“It’s really beneficial for both parties,” said Penny Owens, business-matching chair for ETPA. “The businesses are able to meet with all of their potential customers in one stop instead of traveling all over East Tennessee, and the governmental buyers are able to meet with all the vendors in one place, too. Additionally, businesses can network with the tradeshow vendors to make it a very productive day.”

The East Tennessee Purchasing Association seeks to establish relationships among its members for the development of efficient purchasing methods and practices in the field of educational, governmental and public institutional procurement. For more information, visit

Knoxville hosts alt fuel rally

KNOXVILLE – Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) hosted a stop on the second annual ‘From Sea-to- Shining-Sea’ Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Road Rally Across America, a nationwide initiative highlighting the many benefits of using natural gas in transportation and the wide variety of vehicles currently operating on natural gas.

The spectrum of rally vehicles – ranging from a sedan to Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) 3D-printed utility vehicle – illustrated the diverse private and commercial uses of clean-burning CNG.

Presented by NGVAmerica, American Public Gas Association (APGA) and American Gas Association (AGA), the rally launched outside of Long Beach, California, on June 5, and will conclude in Washington, D.C., on June 16. The journey includes 18 stops and covers 4,825 miles, demonstrating the growing availability of natural gas fueling stations across the country.

The event took place at KUB’s recently opened, publicly accessible compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at 1820 Third Creek Road in Knoxville. The station began fueling KUB’s CNG fleet in November 2016 and celebrated its grand opening for public use in April.

“We are honored to host this rally to encourage and celebrate the use of clean burning natural gas in vehicles throughout our nation,” KUB President and CEO Mintha Roach said. “It is exciting to see the variety of vehicles today from organizations that share KUB’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

Roach announced during the program that KUB’s fleet this year earned Tennessee Green Fleet certification from the Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition. The program certifies fleets based on actual impacts and other actions taken to improve fleet sustainability and efficiency. KUB’s fleet began using CNG in the 1970s and now also includes vehicles powered by electric hybrid technology, E85 flex fuel and biodiesel.

A variety of alternative fuel vehicles from KUB, Sevier County Utility District, Gibson County Utility District, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas and Johnston North America fleets were on display at the rally, illustrating that any fleet can reap the cost and environmental benefits of CNG.

At the event, KUB presented the City of Knoxville with the First Fleet Award to recognize the city’s status as the CNG fueling station’s first fleet customer and for its leadership in alternative fuel use.

“As a local government, we seek to lead by example and show how practical, cost-saving investments can benefit our environment and the sustainability of our community,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “We thank KUB for setting an example for our community through a longtime commitment to sustainable practices.”

ORNL presented a look at the future with its 3D-printed utility vehicle, a natural-gas- powered hybrid electric vehicle using bi-directional wireless charging for a new approach to energy use and storage. Researchers at the lab’s National Transportation Research Center are examining new and innovative ways to maximize energy efficiency through transformative science and integrated technology solutions.

The Tennessee Call 811 hot air balloon also was on hand to support the event. The balloon travels the country as a reminder of the importance of calling 811 before digging to avoid accidental damage to underground utility lines, including natural gas lines.

CNG is an environmentally friendly gasoline and diesel alternative made by compressing natural gas to less than 1 percent of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Costing about half as much as gasoline or diesel fuel and releasing about 90 percent fewer emissions, CNG protects the environment and makes driving more affordable.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero accepts from KUB President and CEO Mintha Roach the First Fleet Award at KUB’s publicly accessible compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on June 13, 2017. The presentation acknowledges the city’s leadership in alternative fuel use and was part of the “From-Sea- to-Shining- Sea” Natural Gas Vehicle Road Rally Across America. Photo submitted.

JIAM is certified LEED

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. The U.S. Green Building Council has certified the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM) at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus as LEED Silver. The certification has been verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building. LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient, using less water and energy than other structures. JIAM was designed by BarberMcMurry architects.

Through JIAM, Cherokee Farm tenants have access to materials science research capabilities available at only a handful of facilities worldwide. Additionally, JIAM is a multidisciplinary facility, marrying its capabilities with those of other research facilities at both the adjacent University of Tennessee main campus and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

JIAM has earned two awards so far in 2017: the Orchid Award for environmental stewardship from Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Honor Award from the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is an ideal fit for firms that will benefit from close partnerships with UT and ORNL and access to the unparalleled capabilities of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials. The campus is leasing space and will build to suit.

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the Southeast’s only research and development park where the resources of a major research university and a leading national laboratory are combined with globally recognized researchers expressly for the benefit of tenants.

The campus is a collaborative effort of the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Located on 188 acres on the banks of the Tennessee River, the campus has 77 developable acres and includes 16 building sites that support approximately 1.6 million square feet of development. Parcels are available for immediate development, and research suite leasing is underway.

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus’ $56 million, 140,000-square- foot Joint Institute for Advanced Materials has achieved LEED Silver status from the U.S. Green Building Council. Photo courtesy Cherokee Farm. For more information, visit

Boyd family donates to Knoxville Zoo

The family of Randy and Jenny Boyd have made a $5 million pledge to Zoo Knoxville, the largest private gift in the zoo’s history. To honor their generosity, the zoo has named the new 4 acre group of habitats for tigers, birds and primates the Boyd Family Asian Trek.

“Jenny and our family have always loved the zoo, so it’s personal,” said Randy Boyd. “The economic impact on the region is more than $34 million annually, but what children learn when visiting the zoo about care and love for animals is priceless.”

The pledge makes it possible for the zoo to fulfill plans to construct new habitats and experiences for both animals and guests. In April, Zoo Knoxville will unveil Tiger Forest, the first completed project of a 10-year master plan to transform the zoo. The new Malayan tiger habitat and breeding facility is part of the Boyd Family Asian Trek, which will expand to include new primate habitats for langurs and gibbons and a new café in 2018. The master plan also includes construction of a new reptile facility and otter habitat scheduled to open in 2020.

“The legacy of the Boyd family’s commitment to our zoo started many years ago. It was Randy’s vision while serving as the chair of our facilities committee that challenged us to think beyond anything we had ever done,” said Lisa New, President and CEO of Zoo Knoxville. “Their gift will transform the experience we give our guests, the care we provide our animals and the impact we will have in saving animals from extinction.”

“This takes our zoo to the next level,” said Eddie Mannis, Chair of the Zoo Knoxville Board of Directors. “It is our goal to be the ‘must see attraction’ in Knoxville and the ‘most talked about’ destination in the region. The Boyds’ generosity is the catalyst for these aspirations. We intend to welcome 800,000 visitors annually by 2025, and a majority of those will be tourists contributing to our local economy. The Boyd commitment benefits not just Zoo Knoxville but our entire community.”
Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. For more information visit

Dreambikes hosts photography fundraiser

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Mitchell Connell, photographer and Assistant Manager at DreamBikes Knoxville, will host a fundraiser photography exhibition to create a college bookstore scholarship fund for the DreamBikes youth interns. The opening reception will take place during April’s First Friday – Friday, April 7, 2017 from 6 to 10 pm, at DreamBikes, 309 N. Central Street just outside the Old City.

DreamBikes is Knoxville’s Non-profit bike shop, which provides hands-on, paid job training to local teens from moderate to low-income neighborhoods. 100 percent of the proceeds from this show will go towards college and career scholarships for the teen employees at DreamBikes.

The photography exhibition will consist of a very limited run of photographs taken while Connell traveled by bicycle, documenting a span of almost ten years. Connell says: ” My life was changed as a teenager when I began traveling by bike. Since then I’ve ridden more than 10,000 miles and taken thousands of photographs along the way. This photography exhibition is a celebration of the bicycle as a means of empowerment and travel, and I hope this show inspires others teens to find the freedom of a bicycle.”

Mitchell Connell graduated from UT Knoxville in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science. While in college he managed the UT Bike Shop, led bike tours for the UT Outdoors Program, and had two exhibitions of photography at the 1010 Gallery. After graduation Mitchell worked as a bicycle technician at REI until he left Knoxville to complete a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. Since returning from the trail Mitchell has dedicated himself to the development of DreamBikes’ Knoxville location.

Donations towards scholarships will be accepted at the door. Photographs will be available for purchase, as well as a limited edition book of photography, T-shirts, and stickers custom designed as companions to the show.

For the opening reception, Joseph Gillenwater (Maspeth), Sally Buice, and Spencer Connell will provide musical performances. Food trucks will be available as well.

Part non-profit bike shop, part community revitalizer, DreamBikes is an organization that hires and trains teens in disadvantaged neighborhoods to repair and sell donated bikes. Since 2008, DreamBikes has refurbished and returned over 10,000 used bikes to the community, provided jobs for over 80 teens, and helped a diverse audience see the world from the saddle of a bicycle.


Fresenius Medical hosts job fair

Fresenius Medical Care’s newest pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is beginning to staff for their first shift of production located in the Forks of the River Industrial Park. The job fair sessions will be held Thursday, April 6, 2017. Two sessions are scheduled from 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm at the Fresenius Mfg. Plant – 5105 S. National Drive, in Knoxville.

Interested candidates can visit or to review job details and apply.

Fresenius Medical Care North America was voted one of Forbes’ America’s Best Employers (2015) and provides renal care products and services, including state-of- the-art dialysis machines, dialyzers and pharmaceuticals.

The American Job Center tour bus facility will be on-site during the event with a career coach to provide assistance to job seekers with applications, resumes, and interviewing.

Knox Makers share work space

Knoxville Mayor Rogero is scheduled to cut the metal ribbon to kick off the grand opening of Knox Makers new community-oriented makerspace on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 11 AM. The event, located at 116 Childress Street, is open to the public and will include tours of the new workshop spaces and displays of projects made using the tools in the space that consist of 3D printing, lasercutting, wood working, metal working, and more.

Knox Makers is a place for the Knoxville area’s engineers, artists, hobbyists, innovators, educators and entrepreneurs to work and play. It is a technology and art collective dedicated to the promotion of creativity enabled and informed by science. Knox Makers provides lectures, workshops, and outreach programs that inspire and educate both members and the general public. The nearly 7,000 square foot workshop enables projects ranging from making your own costumes to building your own furniture to designing your own electronics.

“Knox Makers is more than just tools and a workshop,“ says Knox Makers President, Doug Laney. “We have almost 100 members who come together and share what they know. By combining skills and working together, they can make things that they wouldn‘t be able to make alone. That collaboration brings a real sense of community to the space. Being a part of that community is the best thing about Knox Makers.”

The Grand Opening will begin with the ribbon cutting at 11AM, with tours and demonstrations continuing until 4PM. Knox Makers will be signing up new members and selling t-shirts during the event. Mean Mama’s Burgers and Such along with Big O’s Famous Barbecue food trucks will be on site serving lunch.

ETPA seeks property nominations

Knoxville – The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance (ETPA) is now accepting nominations for the 2017 East Tennessee Endangered 8, a listing of the eight most threatened historic sites in our region. The objective of the list is to inform our communities about the real threat of losing these important sites to development, demolition or lack of maintenance as well as the value of what will be lost if action isn’t taken soon to avoid their destruction. Nominations are due by March 30, 2017 and are accepted for sites at least 50 years old and located in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union counties. The 2017 East Tennessee Endangered 8 will be announced on May 1, 2017 to kick-off National Preservation Month. The nomination form and more information is available online at

ETPA has presented a list of endangered heritage sites in our region since 2010. The organization seeks to develop preservation strategies for each property included on the list. Endangered properties can be saved by working with property owners, developers, government officials, citizens and local historic organizations to find preservation solutions that work. Past endangered heritage lists can be found online at

About the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance

The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance works to preserve the structures and places with historic or cultural significance in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, and Union counties.

ETPA partners with Knox Heritage to serve as the regional arm for preservation activities in the 16 counties mentioned above. The ETPA board of directors is comprised of local leadership from each of the 16 counties. ETPA advocates on issues of major importance to historic preservation, collaborates with other organizations with similar interests and goals, works to educate the public on the many benefits of historic preservation and actively seeks strategies for addressing challenging historic preservation issues in the region.

TN has $18 mil in unclaimed tax refunds

Unclaimed federal income tax refunds totaling more than $1 billion may be waiting for an estimated 1 million taxpayers in the nation who did not file a 2013 federal income tax return. In Tennessee, over $18 million in unclaimed refunds awaits 19,500 individuals. However, to collect the money, a return for 2013 must be filed with the IRS no later than this year’s tax deadline Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

“Time is running out if you want to get your refund,” said IRS Spokesman Mark Green. “Taxpayers should review their 2013 statements for refundable credits and withholdings. We want all taxpayers to get the refund they’re due.” We estimate that the median unclaimed refund for tax-year 2013 in Tennessee is $743.

“In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund,” said Green. “If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.”

For 2013 tax returns, the window closes April 18, 2017. The law requires taxpayers to properly address mail and postmark the tax return by that date.

There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.


Scholarships available for tourism college

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Official Tennessee Vacation Guide publisher Miles, are offering two full scholarships to Tennessee tourism marketing professionals for the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College May 14-19, 2017 on the campus of the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia.

For Tennessee tourism professionals interested in pursuing educational opportunities, scholarship applications are now available. The deadline for application submission is March 10, 2017.

The STS Marketing scholarships will cover tuition, accommodations and most meals for the 2017 session. The scholarships will be granted based on criteria established by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association in cooperation with Miles and TDTD, that encompasses professional aptitude and future career goals in the tourism industry. Miles has sponsored Southeast Marketing College scholarships for Tennessee professionals for nine years.

The STS Marketing College is a three-year educational program for members of the tourism industry in the Southeast United States. During this week, students experience a broad-based curriculum of courses designed to teach marketing techniques from all facets of the tourism industry. Marketing College professors are working, experienced professionals from across the U.S. who bring expertise and experience to the classroom. Those who attend three years of Marketing College receive a Travel Marketing Professional certification that is presented at a special graduation ceremony at the STS spring meeting.

For an STS application, please contact or

For more information on STS Marketing College visit

New works displayed at Emporium

The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present five new exhibitions at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville from March 3-31, 2017. A public reception will take place on Friday, March 3, from 5:00-9:00 PM to which the public is invited to meet the artists and view the artwork. Most of the works are for sale and may be purchased through the close of the exhibition. The First Friday reception also features music and dance by Pasion Flamenca from 6:00-6:30 PM and live music by Swing Serenade from 7:00-9:00 PM. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be available.

Abingdon Arts Depot – Juried Members Exhibition in the lower gallery
The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present a new exhibition of mixed media works by 27 members of the Depot Artists Association in Abingdon, Virginia.

Image: Jose Roberto: The Art of Surrealism in the Balcony gallery
“When I was a little boy, I put my hand in a meat grinder and lost most of my left arm,” says artist Jose Roberto. That was the beginning of his life as an artist.

“The loneliness and isolation I experienced during childhood now allow me to delve into the deepest realms of my emotions and release them at will onto the image,” Roberto says. “My subjects are usually emotionally-charged themes brought about by my own life experiences.”

The exhibit also includes new work by Coral Grace Turner in the display case; “New Beginning” by Joe Bracco on the North Wall; and Vintage Re-Inventions: Steampunk Creations by Eric Holstine, Jason Lambert, and Jason Edwards in the Atrium.

The exhibitions are on display at the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543, or visit the Web site at

Evergreen Ball raises $725k for Park

KNOXVILLE, TN – Friends of the Smokies gathered for an evening of elegance at Cherokee Country Club to celebrate Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) and to raise more than $725,000 for the park’s annual needs at the 2017 Evergreen Ball.

The fundraiser featured a silent auction, wine auction, and live auction which included one-of-a-kind experiences and vacation packages to the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Andes Mountains of Argentina.

The recent fires in Gatlinburg weighed heavy on the heart of Rev. Dr. Matthews, a North Carolina native.

“Our brothers and sisters on this side of the mountains have been through so much this past year,” Matthews said. “Let’s come together tonight and show the world what Smokies Strong looks like.”

At the close of the evening’s live auction Sharon Miller Pryse, President and CEO of The Trust Company and Friends of the Smokies board member, announced a challenge gift of $30,000 to establish the Cades Cove Preservation Fund in recognition of The Trust Company’s 30th anniversary.

Generous donations by the guests in attendance exceeded this goal, for a total of more than $75,000 dedicated to the preservation of Cades Cove. Cades Cove is one of the most popular areas of America’s most-visited national park, claiming more than 2 million of GSMNP’s 11 million total visitors in 2016.

Friends of the Smokies has raised more than $55 million in support of GSMNP since the organization was founded in 1993.

“After a challenging season, it is heartwarming to see the outpouring of love and support for the Smokies shine through,” said Superintendent Cash. “We are so thankful for the support of Friends of the Smokies and all of you here tonight.”

2017 Evergreen Ball Co-Chairs Tim Chandler and Sam Curtis with their wives Katie Chandler and Jody Curtis. The evening’s program was emceed by WBIR anchors Robin Wilhoit and Russell Biven, and included welcome messages by Friends of the Smokies board chair Rev. Dr. Dan Matthews and GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash. Photo by Bob Franklin.

Knoxville Winter Farmers’ Market begins

KNOXVILLE – Nourish Knoxville will open the Winter Farmers’ Market for its fourth season on January 14, 2017. Patrons can shop from a host of farms selling locally grown produce, meat, eggs, honey, herbs, plants, and more, along with artisan food and craft producers with baked goods, prepared foods, and handcrafted items. Food trucks will be stationed in the parking lot to provide brunch and locally roasted coffee.

As part of opening day, Nourish Knoxville will kick off the Power of Produce (PoP) Club. A nationwide program that actively engages children in healthy eating, PoP Clubs give children the opportunity to become an active part of their local food economy by empowering them to make their own food choices with their PoP Bucks. All children participating in the activity of the day receive PoP Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables or food producing plants. Any children visiting the WFM are invited to participate in the day’s activity, or join the PoP Club to participate season long, track their progress with their own PoP Passport, and receive prizes for completing multiple activities. With a curriculum created by the Knox County Health Department, PoP Club promises to be a fun and educational child-centered piece of the Winter Farmers’ Market. The PoP Club at the Winter Farmers’ Market is sponsored by OliBea, a restaurant with a commitment to purchasing local ingredients from farms in the East Tennessee region.

The Winter Farmers’ Market will also provide the Fre$h Savings program, a SNAP matching program that allows SNAP recipients to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets. For every $20 of SNAP/EBT spent, SNAP customers will receive an additional $20 to use at market on fresh produce. Fre$h Savings is made possible by the AARP Foundation and Wholesome Wave Foundation, and is available at farmers’ markets across Tennessee.

The Winter Farmers’ Market happens every other Saturday, January through April. Along with invaluable programs like PoP Club and Fre$h Savings, the WFM will offer special events throughout the season, such as monthly cooking classes with nutrition cooking master Katie Dodson. These classes will cover topics like meal planning, quick dinners from healthy ingredients, and tweaking healthy diets to maximize pleasurable eating. For more information about these and other events, visit our website at

Nourish Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to cultivate and support relationships between farmers, artisanal producers, and the community through outreach, education, and advocacy, and to build healthy communities through connections to local food. NK operates the Market Square Farmers’ Market, Market Square Holiday Market, and Winter Farmers’ Market in Knoxville, Tennessee, and publishes the annual East Tennessee Local Food Guide, a free publication connecting the East Tennessee community to local food.

Transportation draft available for review

With a gas tax increase among the most important topics for the 2017 Tennessee legislature, a new study from the University of Tennessee Knoxville shows that a majority of Tennesseans want more investment in biking and walking. According to a recent poll, if the gas tax is increased, 57 percent of Tennesseans support increased funding for biking, walking, and transit.

A majority of registered voters also believe that investments in walking and biking infrastructure are investments in safety. Tennesseans also said they are more likely to support a gas tax increase if local governments retain control over how to spend this money.

Bike riders are a common sight in Market Square, downtown Knoxville. Long range plans for bike lanes connecting five counties could provide increased opportunities for economic growth as well as benefits for health and fitness in East Tennessee. Photo by

Mobility Plan 2040 is the long-range transportation plan for the Knoxville region (including Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, and Sevier). The plan guides transportation decisions and funding over the next 20 years.

The first draft of Mobility Plan 2040 is available for public review and comment. Comments will be accepted until the end of January 2017. Visit

Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization is also taking comments on the revised project list – including greenways and bicycle facilities in the region. There is an interactive map, which can be used to view all projects, or just bicycle and pedestrian projects. Readers can also look at just the projects in specific counties, can comment on a specific project via the interactive map (click on the project, then on “details” in the pop-up box) or email with general comments.

Dogwood Arts features Glass Guys

On January 13, 2017, Dogwood Arts First Friday will feature artworks created by the talented Glass Guys who call Knoxville and East Tennessee region home. Featured artists include: Richard Jolley, Tommie Rush, Matthew Cummings, Matt Salley, Johnny Glass, Thomas Spake, Everett Hirche, Tyler Olson, David Wiss, Samuel Meketon, Curt Brock, and Christopher Mosey.

Dogwood Arts’ First Friday events and exhibitions highlight 18 unique programs and support the creativity of local and regional artists. This event was originally scheduled for January 6, but postponed to January 13 due to inclement weather.

Doors are open 5:30-8:30pm at the new Dogwood Arts office located at 123 W. Jackson Ave in Downtown Knoxville’s Historic Old City.

National home sales up 5.2 percent

WASHINGTON – Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.2 percent in November 2016 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“New home sales showed growing strength in 2016, and builders expect more of the same next year,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “A key to continued growth in 2017 will be to ensure that prospective, qualified first-time home buyers have access to affordable home loans.”

“NAHB expects an increase in single-family home construction next year, fueled by a growing economy and solid job growth,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Moreover, builder confidence has risen on anticipation of reductions in regulatory costs, which is good news for home buyers and renters. However, the pace of construction will continue to be restricted by shortages of lots and labor in some markets.”

The inventory of new home sales for sale was 250,000 in November, which is a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $305,400.

Regionally, new home sales increased 43.8 percent in the Midwest and 7.7 percent in the West. Sales were unchanged in the Northeast and fell 3.1 percent in the South.


Bliss Home expands into new market

Knoxville-based Bliss Home furniture store recently announced that the company is expanding and will open its first location in Louisville, Kentucky in Westport Village. It is the retailer’s first expansion outside of the Tennessee market. Bliss Home is expected to open its doors in Spring of 2017 in the site formerly occupied by Gattiland at 1108 Lyndon Lane in Louisville.

Bliss Home in Westport Village will feature 24,000 square feet of casual contemporary furniture for your living room, bedroom, dining room and office. They will also feature regional products, art and accessories. Bliss Home also has a staff of designers who can go on-site to revamp client homes through their In-Home Design program.

“We absolutely fell in love with Louisville during one of our many visits here. We have been so impressed with the southern hospitality of the tenants at Westport Village. It’s one of the main reasons we chose this location,” said owners and husband and wife team of Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen. “Like our philosophy, Westport Village has a strong focus on a small store feel and a sense of community. This was an easy decision and we knew this was a market where we could build on our success and support our new neighbors at Westport Village.”

The couple opened the first of the Bliss stores in 2003 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Five Points project hosts meeting

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) will hold a public meeting to present a site plan for Phase 3 redevelopment of the Walter P. Taylor Homes and Dr. Lee L. Williams Senior Complex to Five Points’ residents and community stakeholders on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Walter P. Taylor Boys & Girls Club, 317 McConnell St.

KCDC’s design team of Barber McMurry Architects in Knoxville and Urban Design Associates, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will present the site plan for Phase 3 of the Five Points Master Plan, which will include 34 duplex and triplex buildings located at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and McConnell Street. The 98 one-, two- and three-bedroom units will be constructed to reflect the design and fabric of the existing community.

“This is a very exciting next step of the Five Points revitalization project. The proposed phase will serve as the new ‘front porch’ to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue,” KCDC Board of Commissioners Chair Dan Murphy said. “The site plan is designed to create neighborhood connectivity, outdoor community spaces and housing amenities that will enhance the Five Points community.”

Phase 3 of the plan will also include a new playground and in the center of the community, open green space and park with proposed historical markers. The greenway will be prepared adjacent to the proposed improved Kenner Avenue for future connection to the City of Knoxville greenway system.

The total cost of the Five Points revitalization project is approximately $85 million and is estimated to take place over 10 to 12 years. The City of Knoxville has dedicated $8 million over a 10-year period to the project.

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency.

For more information, call 865-403- 1100 or visit

Lecture offered on TN marble

(Knoxville, TN) “From the Archives: Finding East Tennessee’s Marble Story” is the subject of a lecture to be presented by Dr. Susan W. Knowles, Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at the East Tennessee History Center.

Her interest piqued by Tennessee marble she saw in the United States Capitol, Knowles set out to learn more about marble from the East Tennessee region and its use in buildings and monuments across the nation. The resulting research, images, and interviews became the subject of her doctoral dissertation and now form the basis of a feature exhibition Rock of Ages: East Tennessee’s Marble Industry, of which Knowles is the guest curator.


East Tennessee marble is prized the world over. The exhibition explores the industry and offers a first-time look into the factors that launched the rock’s fame and crowned Knoxville as the Marble City. The beautiful exhibit features an array of artifacts, videos, and photographs showcasing the importance and diversity of East Tennessee’s marble industry. Lecture attendees are invited to tour the exhibition following the lecture

Susan W. Knowles is a graduate of the Public History program at MTSU, with an M.A. in Art History from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Library Science degree from George Peabody College. She currently serves as the Digital Humanities Research Fellow for the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. Knowles served project curator for “Trials and Triumphs: Tennesseans’ Search for Citizenship, Community, and Opportunity,” a website and digital collection on the “Jim Crow” era in Tennessee. She is currently overseeing the graduate research assistants at MTSU and coordinating building the “Southern Places” online research collections, which document more than thirty years of field work at the Center for Historic Preservation.

The program is sponsored by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC and is and free and open to the public. The lecture will begin at noon at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville. Guests are invited to bring a “Brown Bag” lunch and enjoy the lecture. Soft drinks will be available. For more information on the lecture, exhibitions, or museum hours, call 865-215-8824 or visit the website at

Tax filing season approaches

ATLANTA – Taxpayers that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) will have refunds held until February 15, 2017, says the IRS. As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers about steps they can take now to ensure smooth processing of their 2016 tax return and avoid a delay in getting their tax refund next year.


“As we approach the upcoming holidays we always caution and encourage taxpayers not to rely on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills,” said IRS Spokesman Mark Green.

The IRS reminds taxpayers to be sure they have all the documents they need, such as W-2s and 1099s, before filing a tax return. You may also need a copy of your 2015 tax return to make it easier to fill out a 2016 tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from a prior tax return to verify their identity.


New Summit Express Clinic opens

The Summit Express Clinic on Bearden Hill officially opened Nov. 1, 2016; the new clinic at 6537 Kingston Pike in Knoxville is only one mile from the current Wellington Drive location, but the short move is expected to reap big results for patients.

“The Bearden Hill location makes it possible for us to deliver the same services and same high level of care but in a better environment,” said Ranee Guard, vice president of diagnostic and therapeutic services for Summit Medical Group. “Bearden Hill’s Kingston Pike location is much more convenient, and we believe those coming to us for care will appreciate the clean, modern look and feel of the new facility.”

Located next to Calhoun’s in the Sequoyah Place shopping center, the clinic includes five patient rooms. Like all Summit Express Clinics, it is a full-service care center designed to fulfill the everyday and after-hours needs of area residents, whether or not they are under the care of a Summit Medical Group physician. The clinic provides medical treatment, laboratory and X-ray services seven days a week, and walk-ins are welcome.

Summit Express Clinics also are located in Farragut and Fountain City.


Representatives from Summit Express Clinics and the Knoxville Chamber participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Summit Express Clinic on Bearden Hill on Nov. 3. Pictured from left: Knoxville Chamber Ambassadors Jay Cobble and Christa Early; Wendy Hall, Ranee Guard and Elizabeth Vanzant of Summit Express Clinics; Ashleigh Adkins of Knoxville Chamber; and Knoxville Chamber Ambassador Rebecca Darnell. Photo submitted.

Bellmore joins Summit Medical

Dr. Katherine Bellmore has joined Summit Medical Group as a family physician with Fountain City Family Physicians. Summit Medical Group is East Tennessee’s largest primary care organization with 240 physicians and more than 160 advanced practitioners providing care at 55 practice locations in 13 counties. 

Bellmore earned a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, in 2004 and her medical degree from Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University in 2013. She is a board-certified family physician.

Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Bellmore is the daughter of James B. Hall and Mary Ford Chilton Hall. She resides in West Knoxville with her husband, Greg, and their 1-year-old son. When she’s not working, Hall enjoys home improvement projects, traveling and reading.


Dr. Katherine Bellmore
Summit Medical Group Fountain City Family Physicians

Time for planting dogwood trees

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Once again, Dogwood Arts encourages Knoxville to take part in the community-wide dogwood tree-planting day on Saturday, December 3, 2016 . As part of the Bazillion Blooms program, Dogwood Arts asks Knoxville communities to keep their neighborhoods and communities beautiful for years to come by planting not only dogwood trees, but flowering trees and shrubs, bulbs, and perennials during the Fall gardening season. Fall planting allows plants to develop a strong root system over the winter months, so they are strong for upcoming summer heat.

Since the inception of the Bazillion Blooms program in 2009, Dogwood Arts has been working towards a goal of planting 10,000 new trees in the Knoxville community in 10 years. Dogwood Arts is selling disease-resistant dogwood trees at or by phone at (865) 637-4561 through November 18. These 3’ – 4’ bare-root trees are available for $25 each or five for $100.


Trees ordered from Dogwood Arts must be picked up on Saturday, December 3, from 9 am to 12 pm at the UT Gardens off Neyland Drive. Trees will not be distributed at a later time or date. Photo submitted.

Since the initiation of Bazillion Blooms in 2009, Dogwood Arts, along with community and corporate partners, have planted more than 8,000 April-blooming, disease-resistant dogwood trees.

Bazillion Blooms, a program of Dogwood Arts, is sponsored by the ORNL Federal Credit Union. For more information, visit or call Dogwood Arts at (865) 637-4561.

Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to promote and celebrate our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty.

Knox Heritage hosts fall events

Knox Heritage has a lot going on for fall 2016, including a “behind the scenes” look at the restoration of the Farragut Hotel in downtown Knoxville and the Big Bash at Buck Brothers celebrating the restoration of the historic Rexall Building in Lenior City.

Be among the first revelers to celebrate the return of the Buck Brothers Building on October 22, also known as the Waller or Rexall Building. This century-old icon on Broadway in downtown Lenoir City is being restored and we are celebrating its history as a mercantile business, drug store, and dance hall. Enjoy flavors from the past and present with dishes that are Loudon County favorites. Start the evening with a trip back in time at the Lenoir City Museum next door. Then progress into the exciting Buck Brothers project to meet and hear from the developers Diane Powell and Mark Uhran. Dine and dance the night away to a premier band.


The “Behind the Scenes Tour” of the historic Farragut Hotel is October 21, 2016. This free event for Knox Heritage members will allow guests to see the $22 million transformation of this local icon while it’s underway thanks to Dover Development. The end result in 2017 will be a Hyatt Place Hotel that respects the historic character of the building. Festive beverages and savory snacks will be served.

Not a member of Knox Heritage yet? All memberships include your entire household and free admission to at least two “Behind the Scenes Tours” each year, our Preservation Awards Celebration in November, early access to Summer Suppers tickets, plus discounts at local retailers and restaurants and other perks.

For more information, email to or call the Knox Heritage office (865) 523-8008.

Hickman named to KCDC board

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero has appointed Kimberly Hickman, a participant in the Section 8 homeownership program, to a two-year term as resident commissioner of Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC). The KCDC Board of Commissioners consists of seven members and includes a resident commissioner who is a current participant in one of KCDC’s affordable housing programs.

“Kimberly is the first resident commissioner from our Section 8 program,” KCDC Executive Director Art Cate said. “She will bring a unique perspective on the direct community impact of the approximately 4,000 Section 8 rental and homeownership vouchers that we manage and administer. Kimberly has a passion for helping others, and I know that her experience in the Section 8 program and as a homeowner will be a tremendous asset to the board.”


Kimberly Hickman has been a resident of Knoxville since 2002 when she moved from Illinois with her family. Hickman was accepted to the Housing Choice Voucher Program and soon transitioned into the Section 8 Homeownership program. After participating in the required classes, she purchased her own home using the Section 8 voucher to pay a portion of her mortgage.

“I have been in the house with my children for almost two years. It took me five years total to save the money and complete the coursework while establishing credit,” said Hickman. “I have lived this process and that has given me a lot of insight that I hope to bring to this position.”

Hickman now resides in the East Knoxville community. She is a certified nursing assistant and the mother of two children, ages 15 and 16.

Hickman began her term on the KCDC Board of Commissioners on Aug. 1.

KCDC’s board oversees programs provided by the agency, including affordable public housing administration, redevelopment and rental assistance programs. Other board members are: Chair Daniel P. Murphy, professor of accounting at the University of Tennessee; Vice Chair Jacqueline Arthur, general manager of the Three Rivers Market; John Winemiller, law partner at Merchant & Gould; Bruce Anderson, general counsel at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital; Gloria Garner, retired vice president of internal/external affairs for the Knoxville Area Urban League; and Bob Whetsel, retired City of Knoxville director of redevelopment.

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency. For more information, visit

Pilot Corp to offer Shell brand

Starting this month, Pilot Corporation will begin offering Shell gasoline at 29 Knoxville-area Pilot Convenience Stores. The locations will sell grades of Shell-branded unleaded gasoline, and the fuel islands will be branded with the Shell logo. The new affiliation will allow Pilot customers to participate in the Fuel Rewards® and grocery rewards programs.

Pilot will maintain ownership and management of all convenience store locations, and all stores will be updated with the new Pilot branding and logo. Pilot team members will continue to serve customers in the stores.

“Shell is known for its high-quality products and service, and those are the same values we pride ourselves on at Pilot,” said Pilot Flying J President Ken Parent. “This affiliation allows us to extend Shell products to our guests and team members at their neighborhood stores. They will also be able to participate in the Fuel Rewards and grocery rewards programs. We’re excited to begin our work together.”

All Pilot Convenience Store locations will continue to accept Pilot Fleet Cards, and Pilot MyRewards cards will continue to be used for in-store retail promotions. The other nine Pilot Convenience Stores will continue to sell Pilot-branded fuel.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Pilot Corporation operates 38 convenience stores in East Tennessee, employing more than 400 local team members.

Shell Oil Company is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people.

IRS issues new IP PIN numbers

WASHINGTON – In 2015, the IRS stopped 1.4 million confirmed ID theft returns and protected $8.7 billion. If you are a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS may issue an IP PIN. The IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that you will use to e-file your tax return. Each year, you will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN.

Tax-related identity theft normally occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Many people first find out about it when they do their taxes.


The IRS is working hard to stop identity theft with a strategy of prevention, detection and victim assistance. Here are a few key points:

Protect your Records. Keep your Social Security card at home and not in your wallet or purse. Only provide your Social Security number if it’s absolutely necessary. Protect your personal information at home and protect your computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change passwords for internet accounts.

Don’t Fall for Scams. Criminals often try to impersonate your bank, your credit card company, even the IRS in order to steal your personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid those fake emails and texts. Also, the IRS will not call you threatening a lawsuit, arrest or to demand an immediate tax payment. Normal correspondence is a letter in the mail. Beware of threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

Report Tax-Related ID Theft to the IRS. If you cannot e-file your return because a tax return already was filed using your SSN, consider the following steps: • File your taxes by paper and pay any taxes owed. • File an IRS Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. You may include it with your paper return. • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant; • Contact one of the three credit bureaus so they can place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your account;

Visit for tax help and info on various topics including common tax scams, taxpayer rights and more.

Regas Square project announced

KNOXVILLE, TN – Developer Joe Petre of Conversion Properties, Inc., has announced the launch of Regas Square, a $36 million, six-story luxury midrise offering 101 condominium units and restaurant and retail space. The development will be located at 333 W. Depot Ave., in downtown Knoxville.

“Regas Square is downtown Knoxville’s newest and most remarkable residential and retail development in years,” Petre told elected officials and community leaders at the event. “We’re taking a parking lot and turning it into a development that transforms downtown Knoxville’s skyline, serves as the anchor of our city’s burgeoning Downtown North district and bridges downtown with Emory Place, Broadway at Central and beyond.”

Located in one of the city’s most dynamic areas and encompassing nearly a city block, Regas Square offers close proximity to restaurants, cafes, shops, salons, entertainment venues and galleries of downtown Knoxville and also the University of Tennessee campus. The development features 101 luxury one- to three-bedroom residences with private garage parking; bicycle storage; storage units; state-of- the-art fitness center; clubroom and social areas; private exterior courtyard; and 21,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor patio seating.

“We’re thrilled to be in this location,” Petre said. “There’s redevelopment all around us, and this area continues to expand. In five years’ time, Regas Square will be in the center of everything.”

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero praised the project as another feather in the cap of a flourishing downtown.

“Regas Square not only represents the most significant residential and retail investment Knoxville has seen in years, it also will further enhance our thriving downtown and promote a vibrant local economy,” Rogero said. “We appreciate the substantial investment and careful planning that have gone into making this a first-class project of which we can all be proud.”

The residences offer 20 floorplans featuring generous light-filled living spaces with large terraces, high ceilings, hardwood flooring, ample closet spaces, open kitchens with granite or quartz countertops, custom cabinetry and stainless appliances. Master bathrooms will be stylishly appointed with sleek tile, double vanities, granite or quartz countertops and modern fixtures. Pre-construction pricing begins at $189,900.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said Regas Square will beautify the area and continue to position downtown Knoxville as the perfect place to visit and live.

“I’m happy to see Regas Square go up in this spot,” Burchett said. “A lot of us have fond memories of the old Regas Restaurant, and it’s good to know we will have the opportunity to create some new memories here. This development will boost our local economy and is further proof that downtown is a great place to be.”

More information about residential units is available at or by contacting Kimberly Dixon Hamilton of Downtown Realty Inc. at 865-405- 8970.

The project was designed by Design Innovation Architects and will be built by TDH Construction. Construction is expected to begin in October 2016, and officials anticipate an 18-month construction period and 2018 opening.

Regas Square - Rendering

Located in one of the city’s most dynamic areas and encompassing nearly a city block, Regas Square offers close proximity to restaurants, cafes, shops, entertainment venues and galleries of downtown Knoxville and the University of Tennessee campus. The development features 101 luxury one- to three-bedroom residences; private garage parking and storage units; a state-of- the art fitness center, club room and social areas; a private exterior courtyard; and 21,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space with outdoor patio seating. For more information, visit

Register for 2016 Governor’s Conference

Every salesman needs to know his product, says TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, and if you have a business in Tennessee, you’re selling what we’ve got to offer. Ready to grow your business and take it to the next level? Registration is now open for the 63rd annual Governor’s Conference to be held this year at the Renaissance Nashville, 611 Commerce Street, in Nashville, Tennessee, from Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 7am – to Friday, Oct ober 28, 2016 at 1pm CDT.


Gov. Bill Haslam and TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, along with hundreds of state and local officials, business executives and economic development professionals, will be on hand to present Team Tennessee’s innovative game plan and strategy.

Tennessee’s private sector employment totals 2.46 million jobs (Nov. 2015), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private sector employment in Tennessee has reached new records each month since April 2015; 40,400 net new private sector jobs have been created during 2015; 265,200 net new private sector jobs have been created since January 2011. There’s more to come in 2016 for “Team Tennessee,” the TNECD’s vision for the future prosperity for the state that includes all counties.

Come network and see why Team Tennessee has the strongest starting lineup in economic development today, filled with MVPs – the most valuable people, policies and programs.

Tickets are $270 for the full conference. For those who cannot attend the full conference, luncheon only tickets are also available. Register at

Ice Cream Social for community planners

Knoxville, TN – An Ice Cream Sunday Social and Community Engagement Session will be held Sunday, July 17, 2016 from 1:00-3:30 pm. The East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC) and the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) will host the event to gather suggestions for the East Knox County Community Plan, being prepared by MPC. It will be at the Carter Senior Center, 9036 Asheville Hwy.

All interested groups, including residents, landowners, community representatives, business owners, and county officials, are encouraged to attend. The information gathered will provide important input for this planning process.

Community members will have the chance to review past plans, consider areas to preserve and for potential future development, identify challenges today, vision for tomorrow, planning priorities, and participate in a Visual Preference Survey. There will be a prize drawing at the end of the session.

East Knox County has wonderful assets such as historic communities, long-standing farms, beautiful vistas, open space, and is flanked by two scenic rivers. Growth is likely, but how future developments impact the environment and benefit the community is yet to be defined. A goal of the East Knox County Community Plan is to ensure that community members are engaged in the process and able to make suggestions, which impact the quality of any future growth. The plan will be a realistic and effective community resource with a set of concise action steps for implementation.

A community representative stakeholder committee has been established to help with the process of gathering input and evaluating recommendations. The group includes representatives from several East Knoxville communities along with key elected and appointed county officials.

Please RSVP via email to or call (865) 525-9945. Cruze Farm Ice Cream will be served.

KCDC awarded housing tax credits

Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) has announced that Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has been awarded $1,100,000 in annual tax credits for a ten-year period for the continued development of affordable housing in the Five Points community.

“We are building great momentum in Five Points, and with the awarding of these tax credits, we will continue to move full steam ahead in our work to provide quality affordable housing in this community,” KCDC Executive Director Art Cate said. “The revitalization of Five Points is taking shape, and the community has many reasons to proud of the progress we’ve made together and the many achievements still to come.”

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a credit against federal income tax liability each year for 10 years for owners and investors in low-income rental housing. The low-income housing tax credits announced will be used to raise private equity to build Phase 2 of the Five Points Master Plan.

The new, Phase 2 development will include 84 units with varying numbers of bedrooms in 10 buildings. The apartments will be built along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue between McConnell and Olive streets.

“The LIHTC program is extremely competitive across the state,” THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said. “These credits were awarded based on the need for affordable housing in the Five Points community, and because there was a solid plan in place to meet that need by constructing new housing units for individuals and families of low income.”

In May, 2016 KCDC broke ground on The Residences at Five Points, a 90-unit housing complex for senior citizens and the disabled, as Phase 1 of the Five Points Master Plan to revitalize the neighborhood.

The Five Points Master Plan was developed through a series of community input meetings that were completed in January 2014. The master plan is a multiphase, multiyear project with a total cost of approximately $85 million. Nearly five years into the revitalization efforts, KCDC already has invested more than $31 million in new affordable housing through the Residences at Eastport, infill housing and the under-construction Residences at Five Points.

The master plan includes the demolition of Walter P. Taylor Homes and Dr. Lee Williams Senior Complex and replacement with newly constructed modern, energy-efficient units. Design plans are being finalized, and construction on these additional units should begin early next year.

Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency.

For more information, call 865-403- 1100 or visit

CEC breaks ground in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, TN – Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus has announced that Civil Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) will be the first private tenant at the research park, a move that brings the firm closer to its clients throughout the region and provides the needed custom design of office, laboratory and other space designated for maintenance and storage of technical equipment.

Consistently ranked among the Top 500 Design Firms and Top 200 Environmental Firms by Engineering News-Record, CEC is recognized for providing innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in the primary practice areas of civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, survey, waste management, and water resources.

“We hope to provide a technical presentation series with the (University of Tennessee) College of Engineering for students and professionals,” CEC Vice President James Tomiczek said. “We’re particularly happy to be the first tenant of what will be a premier national research and development campus. We’ll be moving 25 local team members to this location, and we hope to see that number grow to 75 in the next five years.”

CEC already has an exceptional relationship with the UT College of Engineering and employs a number of its graduates, along with offering cooperative learning opportunities and internships to students. The increased access to Oak Ridge National Lab also will be beneficial, as CEC considers ways to integrate use of the lab’s supercomputer into some of the firm’s larger, more complex data-intensive projects.

“Increasing the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary degrees or credentials and making Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs are our two top priorities,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus gives us a tremendous boost in both arenas, and I applaud CEC for having the vision to recognize and embrace the opportunities this campus provides.”

Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus - Aerial Photo

Cherokee Farm is the only research and development park in the Southeast affiliated with both a major research university and a national research laboratory. It includes more than 77 acres along the Tennessee River and is a collaboration of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Photo submitted.

Knoxville receives Invest Health grant

A $60,000 grant administered through the East Tennessee Community Design Center has been awarded to the city of Knoxville by Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The new Invest Health initiative is aimed at transforming how leaders from mid-size American cities work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that drive health such as access to safe and affordable housing, places to play and exercise, and quality

Knoxville and Jackson are the two Tennessee cities among the 50 mid-size cities in 31 states selected to receive the grant. Cities with populations between 50,000 and 400,000 were asked to form five-member teams including representatives from the public sector, community development, and an anchor institution, preferably academic or health-related. The Knoxville team includes: Becky Wade, Knoxville Community Development; Phyllis Nichols, Knoxville Area Urban League; Martha Buchanan, Knox County Health Department; Gerald Green, Metropolitan Planning Commission; and Susan Martin, University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Michelle Eichinger of Designing4Health, LLC, who assisted in developing the team’s proposal, will help in process facilitation.

According to Wayne Blasius, ETCDC executive director, “The team will explore equitable transportation solutions and mixed-use development, including local transportation and planning policy change, and integrate health impact in the planning process in development projects. Further, the team will develop a coordinated, collaborative approach and explore funding strategies to support health equity in the community planning and the built environment.”

Mid-size American cities face some of the nation’s deepest challenges with entrenched poverty, poor health and a lack of investment, Blasius said.

Administrators of the grant believe the program has the potential to fundamentally transform the way Knoxville improves opportunities for healthy lives by addressing the drivers of health including jobs, housing, education, community safety and environmental conditions.

Sales tax holiday coming early

The state of Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday is held every year, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the last Friday in July and ending at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday night. During this weekend, certain goods may be purchased tax free. This year’s tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 29 and ends Sunday, July 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Recent legislation has changed the date of Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday. Tennessee’s sales tax holiday will now be one weekend earlier than it has been in the past. Starting in 2016, and continuing annually, the sales tax holiday will be held during the last Friday in July through the following Sunday. Previously, the sales tax holiday weekend was the first full weekend of August. The dates for this year’s sales tax holiday are July 29 through July 31, 2016. The new law did not change any other aspects of the sales tax holiday.

Purchases made from Tennessee retailers qualify. This includes retailers that sell through the Internet or a catalog, if those items are to be delivered into Tennessee.

What is tax free?

Clothing: $100 or Less
School Supplies: $100 or Less
Computers: $1,500 or Less

For more information, and a list of exempt items, visit

NAHB hosts forecast webinar

WASHINGTON – The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will host its Semi-Annual Construction Forecast Webinar on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, featuring industry experts, including Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac, for a lively discussion on what’s ahead for housing. Topics will include:

Current market conditions as well housing’s potential and most likely path for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
Recovery hurdles like lot and labor shortages, and tight credit.
Tailwinds pushing housing such as demographics and pent-up demand.
Federal Reserve actions and their impacts.
Regional and state analysis and factors, such as employment, that affect housing

The schedule of speakers includes:
Robert Dietz, PhD, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, NAHB
Leonard Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist, Freddie Mac
Robert Denk, Senior Economist, NAHB

Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions during the webinar.

Registration for NAHB members is $29.95 and $49.95 for non-members. To register for the webinar or for additional information, please visit Before the event, participants will receive an email with specific log-in instructions to gain access to the live meeting. After the event, the webinar will be available in the NAHB archives to all registrants for on-demand viewing.


Knoxville welcomes new luxury hotel

KNOXVILLE – With a champagne toast, Nick Cazana, Commercial & Investment Properties president, has formally announced the redevelopment of the former state office building at 531 Henley St. as The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel and Residences. The facility is scheduled to open in 2017.

2016-04-07 The Tennessean toast

Located in downtown Knoxville, The Tennessean is close to shopping and dining spots of Market Square, the city’s art and theater districts, World’s Fair Park and the University of Tennessee. Pictured from left: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; Nick Cazana; Kim Bumpas, Visit Knoxville president; and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. Photo submitted.

The City of Knoxville recently completed a covered walkway from the property to the Knoxville Convention Center and renovated the pedestrian bridge over Henley Street.

“The development of The Tennessean continues the renaissance along the city’s largest downtown green space at World’s Fair Park,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “It also is an important connector between downtown, Fort Sanders and the University of Tennessee campus.”

New Knoxville restaurant to open

Drake’s Knoxville, which features a diverse menu and craft beers on tap, will open in early February 2016 at the Centre at Deane Hill shopping center near West Town Mall, creating 110 new jobs in the market. Owned by Lexington, Kentucky-based Bluegrass Hospitality Group, this is the company’s second restaurant in Tennessee and its eighth location.

“Our restaurant combines very different vibes from a laidback lunch spot to an all-out nightclub,” said Mark Thornburg, Drake’s market partner. “Whenever you come into Drake’s you can expect exceptional food, unwavering commitment to hospitality and an atmosphere that invites people to have a lot of fun.”

The restaurant plans to offer weekly trivia, shuffleboard and daily drink specials. The Knoxville location will feature two DJs who will play on Thursday until 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturday until 2:30 a.m., with one inside the restaurant and another outside on a large patio with garage doors, which will be open in the summer.

The menu features traditional American-style pub food, including hand-pressed burgers, Sriracha wings, build-your-own tacos and sushi.

To apply for a job, visit the temporary hiring office at the company’s future location at 242 Morrell Road.

Tech trends expected for 2016

Next year Tennessee residents may see the benefits of the significant advancements in technology that have occurred over the past few years.

“As we continue to rely on wireless technology more and more for business, entertainment, health monitoring and communications, the devices and how we use them will continue to evolve,” says Jay Ellison, executive vice president of operations for U.S. Cellular. “With strong networks and creative ways to use them, there is technology on the horizon that can connect us in ways never before possible, and I have never been more excited about where these innovations can take us.”

Top trends in the wireless industry include growth in The Internet of Things (IoT), a term for technology connecting smartphones to other things, such as having a sensor on business inventory that sends an alert to a smartphone when it needs to be replaced.

Sales of wearable technology worldwide increased nearly 200 percent in the last three months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). There is a wide range of choices in wearable technology functionality, ranging from the basic fitness tracking to a smartphone-like experience. In 2016, more businesses are expected to use the technology, Ellison said.

In 2016, expect to see more people checking out at retail stores using only their smartphones, along with more retailers adapting to the technology.

Fried Pie Lady loves home business

Susan Reynolds of Reynolds Farm in Loudon, Tennessee says people in town might not recognize her name but if you say “the fried pie lady” they know her.

Her business, which started out 7 years ago (when she retired) with fruit pies sold at a local farmer’s market, is now a thriving business that keeps her, her husband, and daughter Kelli busy cooking year-round on their 6 acre farm.

“We started out in the beginning just selling fried pies at the Loudon farmer’s market every Thursday,” Susan Reynolds told Celebrate Knoxville. “I started making other things, and that’s when we found out that I needed to have some licenses.”



Susan Reynolds travelled to Nashville to take the course required to obtain a domestic kitchen license, and later obtained a food manufacturer’s license from the state of Tennessee. Standards are more strict for things like black bean salsa than they are for things like her homemade breads and cookies. Photo by Laura Long.

Editor’s Note: In Tennessee, environmental health specialists inspect every establishment where food and beverages are prepared and served at least twice a year or more often as deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the Tennessee Food Safety Act.  Current food permits and the most recent inspection report must be displayed in a prominent location for the public to view. For more information, contact the Small Business Advocate in the Office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury at

“We had to be approved by the FDA for our salsa and pickles for food safety reasons,” Reynolds said. “As I said, I went to Nashville for my domestic kitchen license but I think there are some tests that can be taken online now for small in-home food business licenses. We get inspected every year.”

Reynolds says her recipes, especially the one for her fried pie pastries, are secret and she doesn’t share them but she will tell customers if there is an ingredient in any product that may cause problems for persons with allergies.

“Kelli does a lot of the baking now and we go through the cookbooks I have to find new recipes we want to try,” Reynolds said. “We like to make blueberry and banana breads, cookies, cannoli, sourdough breads, and pull-apart cinnamon breads. We also take custom orders if someone wants a particular kind of bread.”

Reynolds says the most gratifying part of her business is getting out and meeting customers face-to-face, something that sets her apart from businesses that just sell online.


Kelli Davidson of Reynolds Farm shows off some of her delicious baked goods at the Sevierville Holiday Market in downtown Sevierville. The family works year-round on their home business and travels to several farmer’s markets in East Tennessee throughout the year. Photo by Laura Long.

“This is our fourth year attending the Market Square Farmer’s Market and we really have enjoyed it,” Reynolds said. “This Saturday will be our last for Market Square but we will start back up again with the first indoor farmer’s market in January at Central United Methodist Church in North Knoxville. We’ll be there every second Saturday until the summer farmer’s market begins in May. So for us, this business is really year-round now.”

Visit Reynolds Farm on Facebook at:



Survey studies arts and culture

The Arts Mean Business. That is the message being delivered today by the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, who announced it has joined the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a national study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences.

In Greater Knoxville, the research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education in partnership with the Arts & Culture Alliance and the Tennessee Arts Commission, the state’s arts agency. This is the fifth national study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts and culture spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments. This will be the Alliance’s first time to participate.

As one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the Alliance will collect economic impact data from local nonprofits that offer arts and culture programming both formal and informal. “This study will show how nonprofit arts and culture are an important industry in our community—employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, and helping to drive tourism and economic development,” said Liza Zenni, Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance.

The Alliance will also collect surveys from attendees at arts and cultural events. Previous national studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. Those studies have also shown that, on average, 32 percent of arts attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place, and that those cultural tourists typically spend nearly $40 per person—generating important revenue for local businesses and demonstrating how the arts drive revenue for other businesses in the community.

Surveys will be collected throughout calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017.


Celebrate season with gourmet cookies

CELEBRATE KNOXVILLE – With the popularity of farmers markets and flea markets, pop-up shops – temporary or seasonal businesses – are becoming more popular as well. Celebrate Knoxville’s Food Writer Mary June Thompson is taking advantage of this trend by baking up her own special gourmet holiday cookies this year, including flavors such as Mexican Chocolate and Chai Shortbread.


Thompson is already a familiar face to Celebrate Knoxville readers, as her previous Sustainable Cooking columns utilizing fresh produce from the Market Square Farmers Market received lots of positive feedback and continues to show up in popular searches for the site. Thompson counts Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady’s restaurants in Charleston, SC, and having visited 48 states and 7 countries among her greatest cooking influences.

Where did the idea for this holiday cookies pop-up shop come from? I actually had a similar thing I wanted to do last year, but some things happened unexpectedly and I didn’t have the time. I always keep up with the current food trends, and pop-ups have been a big thing for a while now, so I thought that model fit perfectly with what I wanted to do–bake yummy treats for the holidays for a limited amount of time.

Are you creating recipes from ones you love (and have tried) or are you taking requests from clients? I am offering 7 different kinds of cookies (Triple Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt, Mexican Chocolate, Snickerdoodles, Ginger, Loaded Oatmeal, and Chai Shortbread) including a gluten free option, (Pistachio Amaretti). The offerings were carefully selected to be different from what one would typically find at a local bakery, including some twists on classics, as well as kinds people may never have had before. At this time, I am not taking special requests.

Do you ship them or do people have to live in Knoxville to get them? I will ship at cost for those who don’t live here but don’t want to miss out on the cookies.

Still trying the recipes out on your husband, JT or do you have other taste testers? JT is always my #1 taste tester, although several of the cookie varieties have been enjoyed by others in the past.

Celebrate Knoxville ran a story awhile back about your Valentine’s Day chocolate cookies. Any plans to continue this December shop into other holidays? I don’t have any definite plans at this time, but this has been very successful, so it’s not out of the question that I might offer a pop-up shop again.

What is the best way for people to place an order? Do you have the prices on Facebook? I am actually pretty much booked solid for the remainder of the time frame I am doing this, but I could possibly squeeze in a couple more orders for the weekend of the 11th-13th. Pricing is $20 per batch for all cookies except the Pistachio Amaretti, which are $25. Each batch consists of 2-1/2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on recipe yield. (I do have pricing and cookie descriptions in a previous Facebook post.)

Best cookie for someone who has been good this year is…. The Triple Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt. A modern twist on a classic that everyone loves.

Best cookie for someone who has been bad this year is… Whatever their least favorite flavor is, I suppose. But they still might enjoy them because the cookies are just that good, ha ha.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Celebrate Knoxville, December 4, 2015.

Single family 55+ market strong

WASHINGTON – Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market remains strong in the third quarter of 2015 with a reading of 60, up three points from the previous quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the sixth consecutive quarter with a reading above 50.

“Builders have a positive outlook on the 55+ housing market,” said Timothy McCarthy, chairman of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council and managing partner of Traditions of America in Radnor, Pa. “In fact, the markets for single-family, apartments and condos are all doing quite well, and we expect that trend to continue.”

All four indices tracking production and demand of 55+ multifamily rentals posted gains in the third quarter. Present production rose nine points to 55, expected future production and current demand for existing units jumped 11 points to 60 and 70, respectively, and future demand increased five points to 68.

“Like the overall housing market, we continue to see steady, positive growth in the 55+ market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “With the economy and job growth continuing to improve gradually, many consumers are now able to sell their current homes at a suitable price, enabling them to buy or rent in a 55+ community.”


Market Square hosts holiday market

KNOXVILLE — Nourish Knoxville continues the holiday tradition of shopping local this year with its festive Market Square Holiday Market, to be held Saturdays, December 5, 12 and 19, 2015.

The Market Square Holiday Market is open 12 to 6 p.m. with farm vendors selling until 3 p.m. near the Market Square stage, and craft vendors and food trucks open until 6 p.m. on Union Avenue adjacent to Market Square and along Market Street.

Farm vendors will offer many root crops, hearty greens, greenhouse-grown vegetables/herbs, meat, honey, eggs, winter squash and more. Prepared foods—which also make great gifts—include hot sauce, granola, candy, jams, salsas, baked goods and pasta.

The Holiday Market includes many of the artisan craft vendors who vend during the year, in addition to several who “pop up” just for the holiday season. They offer up handmade pottery, unique jewelry, hand-woven scarves and wraps, creative home décor, as well as locally raised poinsettias, greenery and seasonal wreaths.

Like the Market Square Farmers’ Market, the Holiday Market is a producer-only market, which means everything for sale is either made, grown or raised by vendors within a 150-mile radius of downtown Knoxville.

The Market Square Farmers’ Market continues Wednesdays (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) thru November 18 and Saturday, November 21 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).


Regal to locate new HQ in Knoxville

Regal Entertainment Group has announced the company will locate its new corporate headquarters on Knoxville’s South Waterfront. Regal, which operates the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. theater circuit, expects to create 75 new jobs.
Regal Entertainment (shown here in the Gay Street location) will locate their new headquarters in a nine-story, 178,000-square-foot building along Knoxville’s South Waterfront. File photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Knoxville leaders praised the collaborative effort to bring Regal to Knoxville’s waterfront as well the economic impact the company has on the East Tennessee community.

“Regal Entertainment has deep roots in East Tennessee and is a great corporate citizen and partner,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring a major corporate headquarters to our rapidly redeveloping South Waterfront, and to keep hundreds of high-paying jobs here in Knoxville. Thanks to Regal, Governor Haslam, (TNECD) Commissioner Boyd, (Knox County) Mayor Burchett, TVA and Southeastern Development Associates for working with us to put this project together.”

Regal Entertainment Group operates 7,357 screens in 571 theaters in 42 states along with Guam, American Samoa and the District of Columbia. The Company operates theaters in 46 of the top 50 U.S. designated market areas.

4th & Gill hosts ARToberfest

The Historic Fourth and Gill neighborhood in Knoxville hosts the 2nd Annual ARToberfest from 2-9pm on Saturday, October 24, 2015. The celebration takes place on Morgan Street, between Gratz Street and Third Avenue near Central United Methodist Church.

An ever-expanding event for the whole family, ARToberfest festivities include a showcase featuring over 50 art vendors, live music by the Knoxville Polka Kings, Misty Mountain String Band, and Uptown Stomp, artistry by the Cattywampus puppets, a chalk walk, geocaching, and the Tennessee at Alabama game on the big screen. The standard fare is brats (meat and vegetarian), beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverage options.

Tickets cost only $10, and an advanced ticket purchase comes with one free beverage of choice; kids 12 years old and under are admitted free of charge.

Located less than two miles from downtown Knoxville, the Historic Fourth and Gill neighborhood features over 280 residential structures, including single-family homes, duplexes, and apartment and condominium buildings.


Brewer’s Jam celebrates craft beer

KNOXVILLE The 19th annual Knoxville Brewers’ Jam to support Community Shares of Tennessee will be held Saturday, October 17, at the World’s Fair Park.

The non-profit organization’s biggest annual fundraiser regularly draws up to 4,000 people to downtown Knoxville for a day of craft beer, live music, food and fun. Guests ages 21 and up receive a souvenir Brewers’ Jam glass and can enjoy unlimited samples of craft beer from approximately 60 different brewers.

Knoxville-based brewers participating this year include the new Balter Beerworks and Cold Fusion Brewing. Yee-Haw Brewing out of Johnson City will also be pouring their selection of beers, which are new to the Knoxville market.

A variety of food vendors, including Savory & Sweet Food Truck and Curious Dog Hot Dogs & Sandwiches, will offer festival attendees meals and snacks that pair perfectly with craft brew.

Rockabilly band The Royal Hounds headlines the music stage, which also features performances by Baseball The Band, Samantha Gray & the Soul Providers, and Deadbeat Scoundrels.

Gates open at 12 p.m. for VIP ticketholders; general admission ticketholders enter at 1 p.m. General admission tickets are $45, plus applicable fees, available online at or fee-free at Barley’s Knoxville, Three Rivers Market, Disc Exchange, Downtown Grill & Brewery, and Bearden Beer Market. VIP ($100) and designated driver ($15) tickets are available exclusively online. No tickets will be sold at the gate.

For more information, visit, email or contact Community Shares at 865-522-1604.

Babalu hiring in Knoxville

Babalu Tacos & Tapas is bringing 150 job opportunities to Knoxville with their new restaurant located in the former JC Penney building at 412 S. Gay St. and is slated to open in late fall 2015.

Mississippi-native JT Dewitt has been named Knoxville general manager, and Indianapolis-native and longtime Birmingham chef Warren Weiss has been named executive chef.

To help fill these 100-plus positions, Babalu will host a hiring event on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at its hiring office, located at 618 S. Gay St. in Suite 225 of the Arcade Building.

Attendees at the hiring event will have the opportunity to meet Knoxville managers Dewitt and Weiss, learn more about the restaurant’s unique culture, as well as career opportunities, and apply on-site. Available positions include administrative assistants, hosts/hostesses, servers, server assistants, line cooks, tortilla/prep cooks and dishwashers.

“We’re hiring for all hourly positions, and we encourage anyone interested to apply now,” Dewitt said. “We’re looking for enthusiastic, hardworking candidates who are ready to take on new roles and learn new responsibilities, whether it be as part of the culinary or hospitality teams.”

Weiss agreed that attitude is a key determining factor for job applicants.

“Fit is more important than function,” Weiss said. “If you’re willing to learn, we’re ready to help you grow. Experience is great, but we’re also looking for the personality and passion that will deliver exceptional food, drinks and service to Knoxville diners.”

Open Streets Knoxville kicks off

Open Streets Knoxville, a new festival in Knoxville, Tennessee, will take place on Sunday, October 25, 2015, from 1 pm to 4pm on Central Street between Willow St and Oklahoma Avenue.

This one mile of Central Street, between the Old City and Happy Holler, will be filled with people of all ages and abilities. Guests can walk, scoot, skip, ride bicycles, hula hoop, play croquet, and try out activities like yoga and zumba and pickle ball – all in a setting that is traffic-free.

Every booth will be interactive and the only thing that will cost money is food (provided by local food trucks and restaurants along the route).

The goals are to have fun, get some exercise, bring people together, and showcase the local businesses and neighborhoods.

Talent Trek agency hosts workshop

On Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, Knoxville’s own Talent Trek Agency will host a workshop about all aspects of talent representation and management as part of this year’s Knoxville Film Festival. Katherine Olsen, a New York talent manager, and opera star and actor Gary Simpson (THE KNICK) will share their experience with attendees.

The workshop takes place at Regal Downtown West Cinema 8 at 10 am.

Olsen is the Founder of Encompass Arts LLC in New York City. Her talent management clients include leading Broadway, Film, Stage and Operatic talent. They include: John Cullum, television, film screen and theater star, Anthony Laciura of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” Marcello Giordani, leading tenor of the Metropolitan Opera, Two-Time GRAMMY AWARD winner, Sylvia McNair as well as Tony Award Nominee, Willy Falk. Encompass Arts has actors this season on NASHVILLE, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, THE KNICK, UNFORGETTABLE, THE GOOD WIFE, among many others.

GARY SIMPSON is a Metropolitan Opera Principle Artist and can be seen as Hobart Showalter in HBO/Cinemax’s new series “The Knick” starring Clive Owen and directed by Steven Soderbergh

The mission of the Knoxville Film Festival is to recognize and celebrate the art of independent cinema. It exists to provide a stimulating gathering in which the lovers and creators of independent cinema come together to see and discuss interesting works from local, regional, national, and international filmmakers.

For more information call 865.637.4561.

Melnik joins Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Knoxville, TN – The Board of Directors of Keep Knoxville Beautiful is pleased to announce that Patience Melnik has joined the organization as executive director. Patience brings a background in nonprofit project development and management to the position.

“The wealth of experience Patience has in grant writing and relationship building made her an ideal candidate for this position,” said Bob Graves, president of the board of directors.  “We are energized by her presence and look forward to her leadership as we continue the important work of keeping Knoxville beautiful.”

Patience fills the vacancy created by former Executive Director Allison Teeter’s departure in May to join the Knox County Health Department.

Before joining Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Patience served as Director of Environmental Health Programs at the Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN), a nonprofit statewide environmental organization located in Knoxville, Tennessee. At TCWN, she was instrumental in creating, funding, and implementing the Bringing Tap Back project, which increased access to drinking water in Tennessee’s public places by providing water bottle refill stations to schools, universities, municipalities, and other organizations.

“I am thrilled to join Keep Knoxville Beautiful,” Melnik said. “At nearly 40 years old, the organization has such a long history of partnerships with other organizations and with countless volunteers to make Knoxville a cleaner, greener, and more beautiful place to live. It is an honor to have the opportunity to build upon the foundation laid by so many people over so many years.”

To welcome Patience, please join Keep Knoxville Beautiful for a Meet and Greet at the Fieldhouse Social located at 2525 UT Commons Way on Thursday, August 27, 2015 from 5:30 until 7pm.

Knoxville hosts preservation conference

The annual East Tennessee Preservation Conference will be held in Knoxville on October 22-24, 2015. This popular event emphasizes finding solutions for securing the future of historic places while capitalizing on cultural heritage.

Primary sessions will be held at the East Tennessee History Center and the conference will include an opening reception and hands-on workshops at Historic Westwood. This year’s keynote speaker and special guest will be Donovan Rypkema from Washington, DC, recognized as an industry leader in the economics of preserving historic structures.

The Tennessee Historical Commission will be providing specialized training for Certified Local Government and Historic Zoning Commission members and AIA continuing education credits will once again be offered.

A variety of walking tours to sites in downtown Knoxville will be available.

Register for the conference by calling 865-523-8008.


The city of Knoxville and East Tennessee offer a wealth of historic buildings and cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Photo of downtown Knoxville in the early 1900s courtesy the East Tennessee Historical Society.


Governor begins transportation review

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that he will be traveling the state with Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer over the next six weeks to discuss the state’s transportation and infrastructure needs relating to the functionality and capacity of Tennessee’s state roads and highways, safety issues around roads and bridges, and the impact infrastructure has on economic development efforts in urban and rural communities.

“Tennessee’s transportation and infrastructure system always ranks at or near the top when compared to the rest of the country,” Haslam said. “We have no transportation debt, and we do a great job maintaining our roads, but we know we have challenges on the horizon.”

The 15 meetings will be held throughout August and early September in Memphis, Clarksville, Union City, Jackson, Nashville, Franklin, Kingsport, Greeneville, Shelbyville, Murfreesboro, Crossville, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Lenoir City and Knoxville. Participants will include state legislators, mayors, local elected officials, business leaders, chamber of commerce executives, and local infrastructure officials.

“TDOT is responsible for taking care of the assets we already have, for implementing current projects in the most cost-effective way, and for planning for the state’s infrastructure needs of the future,” Schroer said. “In putting together a long range plan, we look to Tennessee communities to help prioritize these projects to make sure we’re addressing evolving traffic patterns, population growth, safety issues, and the many other things that impact our infrastructure. These conversations are invaluable to the process.”

The first meeting will be held Wednesday, August 5, 2015 in Memphis at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce.

Five Points redevelopment begins

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation has entered into an agreement with The Communities Group to serve as co-developer on upcoming phases of the Five Points revitalization.

“This relationship with The Communities Group is a very important one,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Art Cate said. “We have searched for a master developer partner from candidates across the country and were tremendously impressed with the company’s expertise and decades of experience in affordable housing redevelopment. Its talented staff will be an asset to us for Five Points and other major development and redevelopment initiatives.”

The initial agreement with The Communities Group outlines a 50/50 co-developer relationship to assist KCDC staff with planning, design, land use, development, construction and the securing of financing on Phases 2 through 4 of the Five Points Master Plan.

“We are excited to formalize and expand our partnership with The Communities Group.” said Dan Murphy, chair of the KCDC Board of Commissioners. “As the housing and redevelopment authority of the City of Knoxville and Knox County, KCDC is a regional model of a progressive, innovative agency. With The Communities Group, we have access to even more knowledge, expertise and resources for local projects and to offer our partners in the region.”

KCDC, The Communities Group and Thomas Point Associates currently are working with the City of Knoxville on the Jackson Avenue predevelopment market study, which includes the KCDC-owned former sites of the McClung Warehouses. The report will guide the next steps of redevelopment in that area.

Based in Washington, D.C., The Communities Group is one of the top affordable housing development experts in the country. The firm has experience with redevelopment funded through various U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs and grants, including HOPE VI, Choice Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants, among others.

KCDC is the housing authority and redevelopment agency for Knoxville.

For more information, visit

Knoxville Chamber honors Propel grads

The Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Mentor Protégé program recently honored 6 protégés who represented the fifth graduation class of the program. During graduation, 22 new protégés were inaugurated into the program.

Propel matches small businesses with large successful firms to assist them in business growth.

The graduation and new class presentation featured an overview of the program featuring Hallerin Hilton Hill as the emcee. Vol football legend Inky Johnson gave the keynote address to the entrepreneurs and spoke about the integrity that small business owners should be concerned with as much as sales and revenues.

“The Mentor/Protégé program has helped me grow my business and the Chamber has helped me meet so many individuals who I can help as well,” said Delnise Moore of Always Moore Janitorial Services.

Currently, there are 32 small businesses in the program which is the largest class of mentoring teams since inception in 2009. Propel is funded as part of Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, a regional economic development initiative.

Propel candidates must have an established business for three years or have ten years expertise in their field and must agree to maintain Knoxville Chamber membership for three years.

Tradeshow highlights connections

Small and midsized businesses interested in working with local governments can meet with up to 30 municipalities in one stop at the East Tennessee Purchasing Association’s (ETAP) 10th Annual Business Matching and Tradeshow event on Thursday, July 16, 2015.

From 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Rothchild Conference and Catering Center, attendees will be able to connect with cities, counties and other agencies to get information about their processes and available contracts.

“It’s really beneficial for both parties,” said Penny Owens, business matching chair for ETAP. “The businesses are able to meet with all of their potential customers in one stop instead of traveling all over East Tennessee, and the governmental buyers are able to meet with all the vendors in one place, too.”

In addition to the tradeshow, educational seminars will be available for attendees. The State of Tennessee will host a session about how to do business with its departments, and the Small Business Administration will share information about its lending program and the Women-Owned Small Businesses government contracting program. U.S. Bank will lead a session on financing for small businesses.

Registration is free for attendees. To register, visit

Dura-Line expands in Knoxville

Dura-Line is expanding its Knoxville-based global headquarters.

DL_BuildingPhoto_9123 4x6e_HDR2

Dura-Line manufacturers and distributes communication and energy infrastructure products and systems, and will nearly double its office space from 24,000 to 40,000 square feet at Parkside Plaza I in Turkey Creek. Photo submitted.

“We currently have both global headquarters and United States business, including all support, operating in the same building on the same floor,” said Dura-Line President and Chief Executive Officer Paresh Chari. “Since locating to Knoxville in 1996, Dura-Line has expanded from a company with $60 million in revenue to more than $700 million and has added the staff to match that growth. Since we became part of a multi-billion-dollar global chemicals company Mexichem, we have aggressive growth plans and are simply running out of space.”

Dura-Line was founded in 1971 in Middlesboro, Ky.

Dogwood Arts fest is April 17-19

KNOXVILLE – The Dogwood Arts Festival on Market Square is April 17-19, 2015. Several blocks of downtown Knoxville will be transformed into a lively street fair with 60 local and regional juried artists exhibiting and selling their original work.


The Dogwood Arts Festival is a downtown Knoxville celebration that features cooking demonstrations, festive food creations, and wine and beer pairings at the Culinary Arts Stage. This event is free. File photo by Celebrate Knoxville.

Friday: 11:00am-9:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-9:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am-5:00pm

Live performances all weekend long on the Market Square stage, the Union Avenue pop-up stage, and the Children’s stage. Blooming Boulevard returns to the Dogwood Arts Festival providing unique colorful flower markets filled with live blooming plants, herbs, flowers, and trees.

The Chalk Walk, back in its seventh year, is April 11. This event turns Market Square sidewalks into canvas for the region’s most talented professional and student artists. This free event in Market Square and Krutch Park (Downtown Knoxville) is from 8am-5pm. Raindate is Sunday, April 12.

Total Quality Logistics creates jobs

Total Quality Logistics officials have announced the transportation services company will expand its operations in Tennessee by opening a new location in Knox County at 800 S. Gay St., Suite 810.

The company will invest $1 million to open a sales office in downtown Knoxville to meet the needs of its expanding client-base, creating at least 100 new jobs over the next five years.

This is TQL’s second expansion in Tennessee in just over a year. In January 2014, TQL invested $1 million to open its first Tennessee office in downtown Nashville. With the announcement of its Knoxville office, TQL will operate 31 offices in 17 states across the country.

TQL is one of the fastest growing providers of transportation logistics services in North America, connecting shippers who have product that needs to be moved with truckload carriers who have the capacity to move it.

TQL’s Knoxville office is expected to open in July 2015. People can apply for jobs immediately and should start the process online at

IJAMS hosts eCycle event

KNOXVILLE – On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Ijams Nature Center will host a community e-waste recycling event. Organized and conducted by eCycle of Knoxville, the collection will provide an opportunity for local residents to safely and responsibly dispose of old and unwanted appliances and electronics.

The collection will be open from 10 am to 2 pm in the overflow parking lot across the street from the main Ijams entrance at 2915 Island Home Avenue. There will be signs directing people to the drop-off location, and there will be staff on hand to assist with unloading.

eCycle will accept all types of electronics and appliances with the exception of CRT televisions. Accepted electronics include but are not limited to televisions, desktop and laptop computers, speakers, stereos, and kitchen appliances. They will also accept accessories, cables, and cell phones as well as scrap metal.

According to the EPA, e-waste recyclers recover more than 100 million pounds of materials annually. Responsible companies like eCycle of Knoxville ensure that these materials are reused or disposed of in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

Ijams Nature Center is a 300-acre urban greenspace encouraging stewardship of the natural world by providing engaging outdoor experiences.

About eCycle of Knoxville: eCycle was formed to address the tremendous need our local businesses had to correctly dispose of their electronic and computer e-waste. What started as a venture has grown into a venue collecting as much as 40,000 lbs of recyclable material per month. eCycle accepts all electronic, computer and metal waste including printers and appliances. They are a licensed electronics recycle business and use R2 certified recycle companies for downstream channels.


Knox Heritage hosts Spring tour

Knox Heritage is hosting a behind-the-scenes tours of some of the most interesting places in and around Knoxville on March 12, 2015 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.


The Knox Heritage event begins at Patrick Sullivan’s Saloon on North Central Street, in the Old City section of downtown Knoxville. A reception celebrating the property’s restoration will be held there beginning at 5:30pm before moving on to tour several renovation projects nearby undertaken by developers David Dewhirst and Mark Heinz. File photo of Old City by

This is a great opportunity to see historic preservation in progress and connect with folks who are passionate about preserving, restoring and transforming the places that make Knoxville a great place to live and work.

Residents and interested supporters are invited to join the Knox Heritage community with a membership. Knox Heritage’s architectural salvage efforts have saved countless treasures from the landfill and provided materials for restoration projects across the region. The new office is located at 619 Broadway and offers an expanded inventory, plus will also host artisans and craftspeople for retail and gallery exhibits.

Editor’s Note: There will be a grand opening for the new Broadway space on April 3, 2015.

For more information, call 865-523-8008.

TN announces sustainability awards

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau recently announced the launch of the TDEC Sustainable Transportation Awards initiative to recognize outstanding and voluntary achievements by governments, businesses, industries, public and private institutions of higher learning, and utilities that demonstrate leadership in advancing sustainable transportation in the State.

The awards cover eight broad categories: on-site transportation; off-site transportation; incorporation of sustainable transportation in the supply chain; employee incentive or engagement programs; public transportation; technological or operational innovations; and infrastructure development.

Entities eligible to apply for the TDEC Sustainable Transportation Awards include: federal, state and local governments; commercial and industrial organizations; public and private institutions of higher education; and utilities. Self-nominations are encouraged. A panel of judges representing diverse interests will select award recipients based on criteria including on-the-ground achievement, innovation, transferability, and public education and outreach.

In connection with Clean Air Month, TDEC will host a recognition ceremony and sustainable transportation forum on May 7, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Applications are due to TDEC no later than March 20, 2015. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Luke Gebhard in TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs at 615-741-2994.

Online TN tax app gets updated

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has revamped its business registration application to make the online service even easier with a streamlined navigation, language that is easier to understand, and demonstration pages.

Tennessee taxpayers use Revenue’s business registration application when they register a new business. They can also register their business for the following taxes online:

• business tax
• franchise and excise tax
• sales and use tax
• television and telecommunications tax
• automobile rental surcharge tax
• tire fee
• used motor oil.

Taxpayers should also use the business registration application when they need notify the Department of Revenue of a mailing address change or the addition of a new business location.


Don Pablos brings Tex Mex flavor

(Feb. 25, 2015) Knoxville native Mark Vandewart says he is thrilled to be deep in the heart of Texas right now, being trained to start his new management gig with local restaurant Don Pablos.


“It’s an 8-week training program here in Fort Worth, and I am really loving the family atmosphere of this business,” Vandewart told Celebrate Knoxville in a phone interview. “I wil start my new job at the Don Pablos in Knox Center Mall in March, so I only have a few weeks left here before returning.”

Vandewart says the restaurant concept of “Big Tex, Bold Mex,” is about fresh food with flavors that are so familiar in Texas where the restaurant began in Lubbock.

“My training has been so extensive, from learning guest satisfaction policies to safety to hosting/serving to bartending,” Vandewart said. “I love how the crew works together here and I love the detail-oriented menu. I have already had a lot of restaurant experience but this is a really great concept. Don Pablos has a really good following with repeat business and groups.”


A quick visit to the Don Pablos restaurant web page highlights some of the menu items: Cinco Combo, which is crispy beef taco, a soft chicken taco plus three enchiladas – cheese & onion, beef, and chicken. (Served with Mexican rice and choice of one side.)

“I hope that Celebrate Knoxville readers will visit me in Knox Center Mall after March 18, and say ‘hi,'” Vandewart said. “We have had our share of cold weather even out here but I am anxious for things to warm up and looking forward to getting back to East Tennessee.”

Sustainable Coffee Bread recipe

Sustainable Cooking by Mary June Thompson, Food Writer, Celebrate Knoxville, February 20, 2015. – There are a lot of ways to utilize a sustainable cooking philosophy in the kitchen, and not just with food. At my house, we drink a lot of coffee, and we prefer a specific brand that is sold in tin cans. Not only do those cans keep the coffee very fresh, but they have a myriad of other handy uses once the coffee is consumed, including bacon grease cans, paint cans, storage cans, and even baking vessels.

Bread that has finished baking in the can

So today I would like to share a recipe I developed that not only reuses the coffee grounds, but also repurposes the coffee tin as well. It would also make a great homemade gift idea, as the bread is actually very simple to make, especially for a yeast bread, and a load of bread baked in a coffee can makes a whimsical and fun presentation.

My bread is purposely quite a bit less sweet than one would expect a chocolate bread to be. I made it this way for a couple of reasons: First, the coffee notes in the bread are more noticeable with less sugar, and second, I wanted a bread that I could enhance with sugary things and not be overwhelmed by an excess of sweetness. This bread is absolutely perfect with a smear of Nutella, and it is also complemented by maple syrup when used as the basis for chocolate French toast. Add some fresh sliced strawberries on top, and you’ve got a perfect breakfast, brunch, or snack time treat that is fresh, healthy, and sustainable.

A Few Simple Ingredients Make a Lovely Home Baked Bread

Chocolate Coffee Can Bread

Special Equipment:

Candy thermometer


½ pound metal coffee can (Note: Don’t use one with a coated lining for health

Kitchen string


Non-stick cooking spray

½ cup milk

2 Tablespoons used coffee grounds

1 teaspoon fast-acting yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup bread flour, plus an extra cup or so for kneading

¼ cup cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, such as canola, vegetable, or safflower

1 large egg, at room temperature

Coffee Grounds Bundle


Spray interior of coffee can thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Using at least four layers of cheesecloth, cut out a section large enough to hold the
coffee grounds with enough additional space to tie the bundle at the top. Place coffee grounds in center of cheesecloth and tie together securely with kitchen string. (See photo.)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. In another
small bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Set both bowls aside.

In a small saucepan, add the milk and bundle of coffee grounds. Warm the milk over
medium heat to reach 110°F on a candy thermometer, pressing occasionally on bundle to release the liquid and infuse the milk with coffee flavor.

Once the milk has reached 110°F, remove from heat, press all liquid from the coffee
bundle, discard coffee bundle, and stir in yeast. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, then add the egg mixture and stir until incorporated. You should have a moist, sticky dough at this point. (See photo.)

Flour a large, flat work surface and the exterior of the dough ball generously. Place
dough on floured surface and begin to knead the dough with floured hands, adding a small amount of flour as needed, just enough to keep the dough from being sticky. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. Place dough into prepared coffee tin. Cover coffee tin with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm place for an hour to an hour and a half, or until dough has risen above rim of can. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

Once dough has risen, place can into the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into center of dough comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the can until the can is cool enough to touch. Remove bread and cool thoroughly on a wire rack before slicing, or return to can if giving as a gift.


Mary June Thompson has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Obtaining an EIN for business

Getting ready to start a new business this year? With any new business, there are probably quite a few regulatory and administrative items on your new business checklist – getting permits from the city and county, registering your business name and obtaining an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS.

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your business for tax purposes. Think of it as the business equivalent of a social security number.


As a business owner, you’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, apply for business licenses and file your tax returns. An EIN is needed by any business that retains employees. However, non-employers are also required to obtain one if they operate as a corporation or partnership.

The easiest way to apply for your EIN is online through the IRS. As soon as your application is complete and validated, you’ll be issued an EIN. There is no charge for this service (beware of Internet scams that will try to sell you their EIN application services). You can also apply by fax or mail.

As your business grows and matures, you may choose to change its legal or ownership structure. For example, a sole proprietor may decide to incorporate or a partnership may be taken over by one of the partners and is operated as a sole proprietorship. In instances such as these, your business will need a new EIN. Information on how to create an EIN is available at

Handmade exhibit at Emporium

The Arts & Culture Alliance proudly presents the 2nd Annual “HandMade Here: A Tennessee Craft Chapter Exhibition,” featuring original works of basketry, clay, fiber, glass, wood, metals, leather, handmade paper, mixed media, fiber, printmaking, photography.

Frank Martin, Professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville School of Art, will jury the exhibition.

Works will be displayed in the main gallery of the Emporium Center from February 6-28, 2015. Most of the works will be for sale.

A public reception will take place on Friday, February 6, from 5:00-9:00 PM. The First Friday reception also features music by Cricket & Snail in the gallery; a flamenco dance performance by Pasión Flamenco from 6:00-6:30 PM in the Black Box Theatre; and a Jazz Jam Session hosted by Vance Thompson and Friends from 7:00-9:00 PM in the Black Box Theatre. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be available and chocolate fondue will be provided by the Melting Pot of Knoxville.

McCoig named Leader of the Year

Rachel McCoig, Knoxville Convention Center food and beverage manager, recently was recognized by her peers as the 2014 Leader of the Year. Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert presented the award during the annual employee holiday gathering.

“Every employee at the Knoxville Convention Center is hardworking and talented. To be selected as ‘Leader of the Year’ by her peers is an honor,” Bogert said. “Rachel leads by example and goes the extra mile to make sure our clients have the best experience at our facility. Her professionalism, creativity and teamwork endear her to both staff and clients.”

McCoig oversees and supervises banquet servers and is responsible for planning, budgeting and successful execution of all catering and concessions events.

McCoig joined the Convention Center staff in May 2013 with extensive experience in hospitality. Originally from Montgomery, Ala., McCoig has worked throughout the South in the food service industry before settling in Knoxville. She has served as the food services director for Valley Services Inc. in Jackson, Miss., and interim food service director at Tyler College in Tyler, Texas. Most recently, McCoig oversaw a $10 million annual operation that included refreshment, catering and dining services at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta.

She has a bachelor’s degree in the nutrition and foods department at Auburn and served a culinary internship in 1994 at the Hotel Nicolay in Zeltingen-Rachtig, Germany.

Celebrate Christmas in the City

It’s Christmas in the City; there’s so much to see and enjoy in downtown Knoxville this holiday season, from making a holiday wreath at Ramsey House or visiting the Holidays on Ice skating rink in Market Square.


The Holidays on Ice skating rink is open daily through January 4, 2015 in downtown Knoxville’s Market Square. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (season passes are also available). Admission includes skate rental and unlimited time on the ice. Photo by

On December 13 and 20, the Market Square Farmers Market hosts the Holiday Market throughout Market Square and Market Street. Vendors will have booths set up with handmade gifts, holiday decor, food and more. This is a great place to find unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list.

Parking is free in Knoxville’s Market Square (406 Walnut Street) State Street and Locust Street garages all day on weekends.

Dec. 13
Wreath Making Workshop at the Historic Ramsey House, 2614 Thorngrove Pike.
Join your friends for this great tradition of fun and creativity and go home with a beautiful natural green wreath. We supply the Holiday treats, materials and the expert instruction of Julia Shiflett and her Christmas helpers. Make your reservation in advance and bring handheld garden pruners and gloves. The social is 12:30 p.m. with the class starting promptly at 1 p.m. Sign up with a buddy or start a family tradition. Reserve your spot by calling 865-546-0745.

Dec. 14
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Celebrate the Christmas season in the grandeur of the Tennessee Theatre, Gay Street, as Home Federal Bank presents classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Admission is free; no ticket is required. Seating is limited to the theater’s capacity. Doors open one hour prior to each screening.

Dec. 13 – 15
The Nativity Pageant of Knoxville
The pageant combines a cast of 90 members, live animals, realistic sets and authentic costumes to create a powerful presentation of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning of Christmas. The story is told in beautiful music and narration. The pageant is free and is interpreted for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Saturday, December 13 at 3 pm, Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm, Monday, December 15 at 7 pm, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Free Admission.

IRS offers year-end advice

Tax year 2014 is almost over and the tax filing season is just around the corner. Atlanta’s IRS Spokesman Mark S. Green offers free helpful year-end tax tips for you to consider:

“Taxpayers should review and gather documents now as part of their year-end tax planning. The important deadline of Dec. 31 is fast approaching and a little advance planning could save taxpayers time, stress and perhaps even money,” said Green.

Gifts to Charities – Many people give to charity each year during the holiday season. “Remember, if you want to claim a tax deduction for your gifts, you must itemize your deductions,” said Green. There are several tax rules that you should know about before you give.

Qualified charities. You can only deduct gifts you give to qualified charities. Use the IRS Select Check tool to see if the group you give to is qualified. Remember that you can deduct donations you give to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies. This is true even if Select Check does not list them in its database.

Monetary donations. Gifts of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity to deduct any gift of money on your tax return. This is true regardless of the amount of the gift.

Year-end gifts. You can deduct contributions in the year you make them. If you charge your gift to a credit card before the end of the year it will count for 2014. This is true even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2015. Also, a check will count for 2014 as long as you mail it in 2014.

Records required. You must get an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. Additional rules apply to the statement for gifts of that amount. This statement is in addition to the records required for deducting cash gifts. However, one statement with all of the required information may meet both requirements. Special rules apply to several types of donated items, including clothing or household items, cars and boats.

Annual Gift Tax Exclusion You can give as much as you can afford to anyone even if they are not related to you. In 2014, you generally could give up to $14,000 to anyone and the gift will not be taxable. If you are married, both you and your spouse could have separately given gifts valued up to $14,000 to the same person without making a taxable gift.

In addition, generally Tuition or medical expenses paid directly to an educational or medical institution for someone else are not considered taxable gifts. The Lifetime Gift Exclusion is $5.34 million.

For more information, visit

Sustainable Cooking column to launch

KNOXVILLE – (November 14, 2014) is pleased to announce that the site will launch a brand new online food and cooking series, “Sustainable Cooking,” by Knoxville’s own foodie Mary June Thompson, beginning next week.

“Sustainability is a hot topic, and a current trend in the food world is using what many of us consider to be the “throwaway” parts of the foods we consume,” says Celebrate Knoxville’s Laura Long Martin. “Contributing Food Writer Mary June Thompson will share her ideas on how to use some typically discarded items, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, stale bread, and tea leaves, to create delicious dishes that anyone can make and enjoy at home–and produce less food waste as a result.”


Mary June Thompson (pictured) has been cooking and entertaining for nearly two decades. During this time, her cooking style has expanded and evolved from typical American fare to encompass many different types of cuisines, including Italian, French, Greek, Asian, Mediterranean/North African, and Latin American. Focusing on obtaining the best available ingredients and preparing fresh, healthy dishes with bold flavor defines her cooking style, regardless of cuisine.

Mary June counts Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady’s restaurants in Charleston, SC, and having visited 48 states and 7 countries among her greatest cooking influences.

“I am really inspired by this new cooking theme and look forward to sharing my Sustainable Cooking recipes with readers,” Thompson said.

Thompson is already a familiar face to Celebrate Knoxville readers, as her previous cooking columns utilizing fresh produce from the Market Square Farmers Market and other fresh food venues received lots of positive feedback and continues to show up in popular searches for the site.

Knoxville Blue Slip Winery relocates

Knoxville City and Knox County officials and dignitaries were in attendance at yesterday’s grand opening of the Blue Slip Winery at the historic Southern Railway Station (built in 1903) in downtown Knoxville.

Blue Slip Winery owners Linn Slocum, Jeff Galyon, and Marvin House called the new location for the business “a treasure” and thanked family, friends, business leaders, and a host of others (including local grape growers!) for helping to make their dream a reality. Beginning in 2009, the business was formerly located on Jackson Avenue in the Old City and is Knoxville’s first urban winery.

The new location in the Southern Railway Station provides not only more space for the on-site production of handcrafted wines made from local grapes, it also provides a place where customers can rent space for special events including wedding receptions.


Celebrating the grand opening of the Blue Slip Winery in the Southern Railway Station are from left: Blue Slip Winery owners Jeff Galyon and Linn Slocum, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, and Blue Slip Winery partner Marvin House, CEO of Knoxville-based Merit Construction. Photo by Laura Long Martin,

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero praised the location for the new business, saying that the area was “walkable and bikeable,” and featured not only ample parking but also a bus stop right out front.

“This is about being downtown in the heart of the city,” Mayor Rogero told the crowd at the event’s official ribbon cutting. “This is about shopping local.”

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett also expressed the county’s approval of the site, calling it “Napa Valley Tennessee,” and joked that although he did not drink alcohol, he was a certainly a big fan of economic development.

Jim and Betty Tolliver, owners of the Old Smokey Railway Museum, attended the event and said they were “thrilled with how the building has been restored.”

Jim Tolliver pointed out historic items in the building’s showcase shelves and noted that the Southern Railway Station’s former ticket window was still a great feature, along with restored benches and ornamental fireplaces.

–Laura Long Martin,, November 4, 2014.


Jim and Betty Tolliver, owners of the Old Smokey Railway Museum, stand next to former ticket window in the restored Southern Railway Station in downtown Knoxville. The building is now the new location for Knoxville’s first urban winery, Blue Slip Winery. Below, the view of the Southern Railway Station from the Gay Street Bridge. The Blue Slip Winery building is on the right. Photo by Laura Long Martin,