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 www.jobs.fmcna.com or www.Jobs4TN.gov 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.

New tax codes launch for 2017

WASHINGTON – Federal taxpayers that receive Form W-2 in early 2017 may notice a new entry – a 16-digit verification code, part of an effort conducted by the Internal Revenue Service to protect taxpayers and strengthen anti-fraud efforts. The expanded use of the W-2 Verification Code is a way to validate the wage and tax withholding information. For taxpayers, taking a moment to add this code when filling out taxes helps the IRS authenticate the information. This in turn helps protect against identity theft and unnecessary refund delays.

For 2017, the IRS and its partners in the payroll service provider industry will place the code on 50 million Forms W-2. This is up from two million forms in 2016.


The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry – partners in combating identity theft – ask for help in their efforts. If your W-2 contains the code, please enter it when prompted if using software to prepare your return. Or, make sure your tax preparer enters it.

If the code is not included, your tax return will still be accepted. However, initial results indicate the verification code shows promise in reducing tax fraud. It helps IRS processing systems authenticate the real taxpayer. Identity thieves sometimes file false Forms W-2 to support their fraudulent tax returns.

This initiative will affect only those Forms W-2 prepared by payroll service providers. The verification code’s location on the form will vary. Enter the code on electronically filed returns only. Most software providers will prompt you to enter the code.

Visit IRS.gov.

Fall great time to get a new tat

CELEBRATE KNOXVILLE – While you’re thnking about fall decorations, why not add a little color to yourself? This week Celebrate Knoxville paid a visit to Liquid Ink Tattoo to chat with artist Tony Maskevich about industry trends and to ask if Knoxville has its own tat vibe.


Tony Maskevich (pictured above) says he has worked as a tattoo artist since October of 1991, and since that time he has “heard it all from folks sitting in the chair” and has developed his own strict standards for a clean shop. He has even been a special speaker on industry standards at the University of Tennessee and has expanded his art into creating custom framed artwork (including airbrush) as well as custom design and installation of signage for other businesses. Photo by Laura Long Martin for Celebrate Knoxville.

“Tennessee has some pretty strict standards for this work, but I go even beyond that,” Maskevich says. “You saw my daughter in the lobby, right? I want this shop to be clean enough for me and for my family, as well as for all my clients. Some of the things I do here, (he points with a gloved hand to disposable plastic coverings on the ink lines from his machine and on containers on his desk) aren’t law, but I do them anyway.”


Cleanliness and hygiene are always important for Liquid Ink Tattoos, and they are inspected six times a year, Maskevich said. Fines for health inspection infringements can range from $50 to $500. The company has strict standards that go beyond what the law requires, and the excellent inspections history for the company is a testimony to high standards.

As far as trends go, Maskevich says geometric patterns from Europe are making their way into the Knoxville market, as well as tattoos designed to look like watercolor paintings. In urban cities like Knoxville, Tennessee, he sees a lot of steampunk, mandalas, and a lot of images that morph into other images like M. C. Escher paintings. As often as he can, he goes to conventions such as Tattoo Carnival of Mayhem in Pasadena, Texas, to learn tricks of the trade from other artists and to keep up with trends.

“Tribal will never go away,” he says, referring to designs that look like black and white drawings. “And I can’t tell you where those designs came from in the beginning, but now it is a standard in this business.”

Editor’s Note: Wiki says the word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian word “tatau”, meaning “to write.”

Traditional tattoos refer to enduring symbols of a variety of nations and cultures, such as tigers, eagles, stars, swords and other weapons, and fire.

“Traditional tattoos are old school, and are respected designs among equipment makers and ink manufacturers,” Maskevich said. “That would be like the tiger with the sword through his head, or the nautical star, which is considered by some to be a reminder to seek balance in life (star points north, to find your way home).” Other symbolic designs may indicate that a person has spent time in prison (cobweb), survived a suicide attempt (semicolon) or witnessed and/or committed a murder (teardrop).

Maskevich says in 26 years in business he has heard many stories from clients, and since tattoos can be deeply personal, there is a measure of confidentiality to his work. He loves clients that bring in art that they want him to duplicate, but sometimes gets annoyed with people who bring in a photo from Pinterest and want that exact tattoo, which is a challenge sometimes, especially if the design is complicated.


Maskevich says he works hard to produce the style of work clients are looking for, if not that specific design. Costs for a simple tattoo start at about $60 and can go up into hundreds, even thousands of dollars for large pieces, such as back pieces, or sleeves that cover part or all of an arm. Clients that also want body piercing can choose from a wide variety of jewelry at the shop. Gift certificates are also available.

The business often gets involved with fundraisers, and in October this year Liquid Ink plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to a friend, Bobbi Foster, who is a survivor of breast cancer.

Does Knoxville have its own tat vibe?

“Every state has tattoos that are popular for that place,” he says. “Here in East Tennessee, you better stock up on orange (ink).”

Liquid Ink is located at 12215-B Chapman Highway in Seymour, Tennessee. Call for an appointment at 865-333-5963.

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

KCAC announces promotions

The Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum (KCAC) has hired Brent Lackey as event manager, promoted Phillip Crawford to stage manager and promoted Jamie Cunningham to office manager.

Lackey is an event planning professional with more than 13 years of senior level experience in all aspects of large annual conference, event and expo planning. Most recently, Lackey served as training coordinator for UT Institute for Public Service Law Enforcement Innovation Center.

Crawford joined the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum in 2014 as building superintendent and earned his degree in sound engineering from The Institute of Audio Research in New York City.

Cunningham, a six-year veteran at KCAC, manages the front office; she earned the Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association Pauly Award for Service/Supplier Employee of the Year in 2016.

“We are excited to promote excellent employees and recruit the best talent to our management team,” General Manager Mary Bogert said. “Brent’s background in event management and customer service will be a big asset for event planners and promoters at our facility. As a six-year employee, Jamie’s elevation to office manager is well-earned through her dedication and attention to detail, and Phillip knowledge of the venue and its technical capacities helps artists who perform at our facilities shine.”


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.

South College hosts job fair

KNOXVILLE, TN – South College will host their annual job fair on Thursday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for its students and the community on campus at 3904 Lonas Drive in Knoxville.

“Seeking employment can be confusing, time-consuming and tiring,” said Gary Taylor, South College career services coordinator. “Having so many employers in one location should make the process much easier, and we hope that job seekers will take advantage of this opportunity to meet and speak with area recruiters.”

Human resource officers and recruiters will be on-site to review resumes and discuss employment opportunities with attendees. The representatives are seeking qualified individuals in health care, business, legal studies and other industries.

“Treat this career fair and any other opportunity like you would a job interview,” Taylor said. “In addition to an updated resume, it’s helpful to have a brief description of your work experience and the type of opportunity you’re currently seeking.”

Companies scheduled to participate in the job fair include: AFLAC, American Red Cross, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Cellular Sales of Knoxville, City of Knoxville Civil Service Department, Clayton Homes, Covenant Health, Dollywood, EmployBridge, Homewatch CareGivers, Knoxville Police Department, Medical Solutions, Morristown Police Department, PhysAssist, Resource Accounting, Renaissance Terrace Assisted Living, RetireNDignity, Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service (SCHAS), Summit View of Farragut, Talbots, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee National Guard, University of Tennessee, University Physicians’ Association, US Foods, U.S. Navy, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Wellmont Health System and Westmoreland Health and Rehab Center.

About South College

South College is a private institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to offer programs at the doctorate, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels.

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.


Kayak company locates in Knox County

Lifetime Products, Inc. officials have announced the company will locate new manufacturing and distribution operations in Knox County. The leader in blow-molded plastic products will invest $115 million and create 500 jobs.

“We spent over a year researching different locations on the East Coast. After meeting with local state and economic groups, Tennessee was obviously the best option,” Richard Hendrickson, president and CEO Lifetime Products, Inc. said. “We are excited to facilitate the creation of U.S. manufacturing jobs and opportunities for the people of the Knoxville area and the state of Tennessee.”

Lifetime Products is the leading manufacturer of blow-molded plastics products. Its products range from plastic folding tables and chairs, basketball hoops and outdoor sheds to kayaks and paddleboards. Lifetime was started in 1986 with 15 employees and now employs over 2,700 people worldwide.

Lifetime’s new manufacturing and distribution operations will be located in the former GE building in Knox County. The existing building is 360,000 square feet and the company plans to double the size by adding a new building to the existing structure.

The facility will produce Lifetime’s water sports line that includes kayaks and paddleboards as well as its outdoor children’s playset line. With this new facility, the company will be able to meet its customers’ increased demand for Lifetime’s products.

Lifetime plans to have the facility operational by summer 2017.

Messer hosts Knoxville hiring event

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Messer Construction Co. will host a hiring event Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 to fill several construction-related positions in its Knoxville region office in support of current and new building projects in East Tennessee.

“Messer experienced record growth in 2014, and our business continues to flourish,” said Allen Begley, senior vice president for Messer. “We need qualified, committed employees to help us accelerate that momentum.”

The hiring event will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. at Messer’s West Knoxville office, 120 Perimeter Park Road. The company has immediate, full-time openings for approximately 15 project managers, project engineers, safety managers, skilled craftspeople and superintendents. Applicants will have an opportunity to meet with Messer representatives and should bring a current resume or be prepared to fill out an application.

The company offers competitive compensation and an extensive benefits package, including retirement plans, health and dental insurance, life and disability insurance, tuition reimbursement, continuing education plans and an employee stock ownership plan.

“Messer is a 100 percent employee-owned company,” Begley said. “Employee ownership challenges us to go beyond finding candidates who are merely qualified. We seek the most talented and committed professionals to become shared business owners of our company.”


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.

Knoxville hosts Science Week events

An event celebrating the growing interest in nuclear science will be centered in Knoxville next week for the Nuclear Science Week at the Knoxville Convention Center on Oct. 22-24, 2015.

“Because of our area’s strength in scientific businesses and organizations, Knoxville is perfectly positioned to host scientific meetings and conferences,” said Mary Bogert, general manager for the Knoxville Convention Center. “We are excited to host this event, which covers all aspects of nuclear science, and promotes East Tennessee as an area of innovation through such organizations as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, Provision Center for Proton Therapy and the University of Tennessee.”

The three-day event showcases some of East Tennessee’s leaders in nuclear science. The primary focus of Nuclear Science Week 2015 is uniting the community and world through nuclear science.

Panel discussions and presentations will take place Friday, Oct. 23, at the Knoxville Convention Center. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero will welcome conference-goers at 8:20 a.m. and introduce the day of panels. A public screening of a new film about nuclear energy, titled “Pandora’s Promise,” will be shown concurrently at 6:30 p.m. at the Convention Center and Oak Ridge Associated Universities Pollard Technology Conference Center.

The week also will include sessions for students and teachers to learn about concepts and current issues of nuclear science in the region and internationally. On Thursday, Oct. 22, local kindergarten through sixth-grade students will participate in interactive nuclear science and engineering activities, including nuclear detection demonstrations, cloud chambers, electromagnets and atom assembly at two sessions from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

All Nuclear Science Week activities and panels are free and open to the public. Prior registration is encouraged at http://www.nuclearscienceweek.org. A schedule also is available on the website.

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.”

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.

Dogwood Arts announce new director

Knoxville Dogwood Arts’ Board of Directors has selected Tom Cervone as new Executive Director. Cervone is currently the managing director of the University of Tennessee’s College of Business Professional MBA program.

Cervone previously served as the first executive director of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation. Prior to that, he spent 23 years managing UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre. Cervone currently serves on the board of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Greater Knoxville, the advisory board for the College of Business at Maryville College, as well as the boards of WordPlayers and River & Rail Theatre Company.


“We are thrilled to have found an accomplished and innovative Executive Director to lead Dogwood Arts in further solidifying its role as the pre-eminent provider of arts and culture programming in the community,” says Eddie Mannis, chair of the executive director search committee.

Cervone replaces Lisa Duncan, Dogwood Arts Executive Director since 2008, who announced her desire to turn over the leadership in May.

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.

KCDC elects board officers

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has announced the appointment of new board officers following its annual board meeting.

Dan Murphy, a University of Tennessee professor of accounting specializing in federal taxation, will serve as chairman. Murphy was appointed by Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to the Board of Commissioners in 2013.

Jacqueline Arthur, general manager of the community-owned food cooperative Three Rivers Market, was appointed vice chairman. Arthur also was appointed to the KCDC board by Rogero in 2013.

Resident commissioner Phyllis Patrick, administrative assistant at Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, Inc., will serve as treasurer. Art Cate, KCDC executive director and CEO, was elected secretary.

KCDC’s Board of Commissioners is a seven-member body appointed by the Knoxville mayor to oversee programs provided by the agency, including affordable public housing administration, redevelopment and rental assistance. The board members began their one-year term as officers at the board’s annual meeting on May 28.

Other board members are: John Winemiller, partner at the law firm Merchant & Gould; David Hutchins, architect and president of Hutchins Associates P.C.; Lisa Wagoner, supervisor of health services for Knox County Schools; and Dr. John Turner, retired senior vice president of education, training and diversity at the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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 http://www.kcdc.org.

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 www.tqljobs.com.

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.

Visit http://www.tn.gov/revenue/

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.”

Builder confidence battles weather

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2015 -Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in February fell two points to a level of 55 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.

“Overall, builder sentiment remains fairly solid, with this slight downturn largely attributable to the unusually high snow levels across much of the nation,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“For the past eight months, confidence levels have held in the mid- to upper 50s range, which is consistent with a modest, ongoing recovery,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Solid job growth, affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates should help unleash growing pent-up demand and keep the housing market moving forward in the year ahead.”


Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Two of the three HMI components posted losses in February. The component gauging current sales conditions edged one point lower to 61 while the component measuring buyer traffic fell five points to 39. The gauge charting sales expectations in the next six months held steady at 60.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast fell a single point to 46, and the Midwest and South each posted a two-point drop to 54 and 57, respectively. The West rose two points to 68.

Screenwriter speaks to Knoxville writers

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Novelist and screenwriter Shannon Burke will read from his newest book, “Into the Savage Country,” at the March 2015 program of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild.

Shannon Burke

Shannon Burke will speak to the Knoxville Writers Guild beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 5, 2015 at the Laurel Theater, at the corner of Laurel Avenue and 16th Streets (in Fort Sanders). A $2 donation is requested at the door. The building is handicapped accessible. Additional parking is available at Redeemer Church of Knoxville, 1642 Highland Ave. The event is open to the public.

“Into the Savage Country” is a historical adventure novel that mostly takes place on a trapping brigade in the 1820s. The novel begins as the protagonist – a young man named William Wyeth – starts west on a trapping brigade. The character makes friends, falls in love, chases buffalos and becomes involved in a struggle where the future of the country hangs in the balance.

“I grew up reading books like ‘Kidnapped,’ ‘Treasure Island,’ ‘White Fang’ and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo,’ and my intent was to write a book in that vein,” Burke said.

Burke’s previous novels were well-received and have been translated into several languages. “Safelight” (Random House 2005) was on the Kirkus and Publishers Weekly end of the year lists. “Black Flies” (Soft Skull Press 2008) was on numerous end of the year lists, was a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the Believer Book Award, on the Impac Dublin Literary Award Long List and runner up for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He has worked on various films, including work on the script for the film “Syriana.”

About the Knoxville Writers’ Guild

The Knoxville Writers’ Guild exists to facilitate a broad and inclusive community for area writers, provide a forum for information, support and sharing among writers, help members improve and market their writing skills and promote writing and creativity. Additional information about KWG can be found at www.KnoxvilleWritersGuild.org.

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 IRS.gov.

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 IRS.gov.

US Cellular hosts Knoxville job fair

Interested in a career in technology? U.S. Cellular will host a retail store hiring event Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 in an effort to fill 11 job openings in Knoxville.

The hiring event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at U.S. Cellular retail stores at 8401 Kingston Pike. Full- and part-time retail wireless consultant and store leadership positions are available, and applicants are encouraged, but not required, to apply online in advance.

“We are proud to be a part of our local communities, and we look forward to hiring new associates who want to work in an enjoyable environment and share our same commitment to serving customers in Knoxville,” said Jack Brundige, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Tennessee. “We need qualified, motivated and passionate associates to help us deliver the world’s best customer experience to everyone who walks through our doors.”

U.S. Cellular looks for dynamic and enthusiastic professionals with relevant experience, active listening skills, ability to connect with customers, excellent communication skills and team-oriented skills. These positions offer a competitive starting wage and benefits, along with incentives or commission.

For information on participating retail locations, please visit www.uscellularretailjobs.com.