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VOL. 46 | NO. 35 | Friday, September 2, 2022

'Top Gun' actor Powell to receive Hope Award

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Glen Powell, currently starring with Tom Cruise in the blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick,” will receive the Bob Hope Award for Entertainment at the upcoming Medal of Honor Celebration in Knoxville in September.

He will join fellow Congressional Medal of Honor Society honorees, including former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, NBC News correspondent Courtney Kube and Dr. Timothy Miller at the Patriot Awards Gala on Sept. 10.

“I’ve spent much of my career trying to tell the stories of our men and women in uniform with integrity and accuracy,” says Powell. “The heroes I have attempted to emulate on screen have become my family in real life. This award for me is the most special of my career in that it’s given to me by a community in which I have the utmost respect, admiration and gratitude.”

The Bob Hope Award for Entertainment is reserved for people who, through their life’s work in the entertainment industry, have distinguished themselves by outstanding service to or positive portrayal of the United States military in literature or film. Previous recipients include Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck and Mark Wahlberg.

The Medal of Honor Celebration is an annual gathering for recipients of the United States’ highest military award for valor. September will mark the second time the event has been held in Knoxville. Knoxville last welcomed recipients in 2014.

Actor and director Gary Sinise, who played the character of “Lt. Dan” in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump,” will once again serve as master of ceremonies for the Patriot Awards Gala in Knoxville. Sinise is also a previous recipient of the Bob Hope Award.


Pilot Co., Kodiak partner on autonomous trucks

Pilot Company has announced a strategic partnership with Kodiak Robotics, Inc., a leading self-driving trucking company, to develop autonomous truck services at Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

Pilot Company and Kodiak are in the process of creating an autonomous truckport in the Atlanta area to evaluate potential service offerings and explore scalable solutions. These services will include spaces to pick up and drop autonomous trucking loads, conduct inspections, maintain and refuel trucks, and transfer data for processing, such as feature development and mapping.

To strengthen the ability to work together to develop a solution that works best for its customers, Pilot Company has made a strategic investment in Kodiak and will join the company’s board of directors.

Combining Pilot Company’s nationwide network of travel centers and services with Kodiak’s technology will play a crucial role in the deployment of autonomous trucks.

Kodiak will lend its expertise as Pilot Company looks to integrate autonomous truck services into its operations. The partnership will further define service and maintenance requirements, operational necessities, facilities planning, and more to meet the needs of autonomous trucks.

Kodiak entered a hypergrowth phase in 2022, significantly expanding its service footprint and partner network. The company has been delivering freight commercially since 2019 and has routes that run regularly between Dallas and Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Jacksonville, Florida.

KCDC, Matter Health open wellness center

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation has partnered with Matter Health to provide high-quality, on-site primary care for residents at its Isabella Towers property.

The new wellness center provides residents convenient access to physical and mental health and lifestyle support. The center includes a patient lounge, consultation and virtual health room, and an exam room.

Matter Health’s new wellness center at Isabella Towers will be the company’s fifth in the state and the first in East Tennessee. It is staffed with a dedicated nurse practitioner, nurse and overseeing physician. Amenities and services are available to all Isabella Towers residents regardless of insurance status.

The 234-unit affordable, independent housing community, located at 1515 Isabella Circle in East Knoxville, is completing a $5.5 million renovation that includes new flooring and appliances in each unit and an additional 14 ADA units on the property. The renovations also include new cabinets, lighting, and heating and air conditioning units to align with KCDC’s sustainability and energy-efficiency initiatives.

Studio Four Design served as architect for the renovation, with Gibraltar Construction Company as contractor and Management Solutions LLC as owner representative. All three companies are based in Knoxville.

Eastman Innovation Center dedicated

A long-standing relationship between Eastman and the University of Tennessee took a leap forward as leaders dedicated the Eastman Innovation Center on the UT campus and outlined joint initiatives that could have far-reaching economic and environmental impact.

Plowman and Deborah Crawford, vice chancellor for research, joined Steve Crawford, Eastman executive vice president, technology and chief manufacturing, engineering and sustainability officer, and Chris Killian, Eastman senior vice president and chief technology officer, in dedicating the new center.

Eastman’s center is in the UT Business Incubator, which provides a central location for technology firms to collaborate with UT on research and economic development projects that can benefit Tennessee.

“Our two institutions have decades of shared history,” says Eastman’s Crawford. “Today is a significant new chapter in that history.”

The center expands an existing research relationship, as the university has been a member of the Eastman Innovation Network of higher education partners since 2015. Eastman will maintain a consistent campus presence, with scientists rotating through its Knoxville space to focus on research proposals from UT research teams of faculty and students.

UTMC earns chest pain center accreditation

The American College of Cardiology has recognized The University of Tennessee Medical Center for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain.

UTMC was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI in May based on rigorous evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 730,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms.

Other heart attack symptoms include, but are not limited to, tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, cold sweat, unusual tiredness, heartburn-like feeling, nausea or vomiting, sudden dizziness and fainting.

Percutaneous coronary intervention is a nonsurgical procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries with a balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack. Coronary angioplasty and stent placement are types of PCI.

TVA earns ethics, compliance verification

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced that it is the first federal agency to earn the coveted Compliance Leader Verification from Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

This verification validates TVA’s government-leading efforts to build an organization that is transparent with a best-in-class ethics and compliance program.

The CLV process involves a rigorous review of an ethics and compliance program and corporate culture. To earn the CLV, Ethisphere evaluated TVA’s performance in six key areas: program resources and structure; perceptions of ethical culture; written standards; training and communication; risk assessment, monitoring, and auditing; and enforcement, discipline and incentives.

USDA announces $545K in specialty crop grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has awarded more than $545,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding to Tennessee.

This USDA grant will help the Tennessee Department of Agriculture fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the state and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education and research.

Through the SCBGP, TDA will award funding to 13 specialty crop projects. Among the projects, is an award of $50,000 to Cul2vate, an organization that delivers nutritional food to local food deserts and underserved communities.

The funding will allow the organization to provide end-user education related to nutrition, food safety, good agricultural practices and the implementation of urban agriculture projects. The project will also focus on equipping chronically underemployed individuals with agricultural skills. Other projects being funded focus in areas such as research, best practices, pest management, and youth education.

Tennessee Tourism sponsors music history podcast

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Armchair Productions teamed up to launch a six-episode podcast series titled “Tennessee Music Pathways.”

Presenter and award-winning journalist Aaron Millar traveled across the state to capture unique musical stories, performances and interviews with musicians, historians and fans, highlighting each distinct region’s musical heritage.

Produced in a documentary style, the series takes listeners on a more than 1,000-mile road trip, from Bristol and the birth of country music to Memphis and the start of rock n’ roll. Along the way, listeners will hear bluegrass played fast as lightning and traditional Appalachian music performed live in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The podcast also includes separate behind-the-scenes live session episodes, including songwriter Ed Snodderly in his iconic venue The Down Home in Johnson City, Chattanooga blues player Rick Rushing and The Boogertown Gap band playing traditional old-time Appalachian music just as it would have been heard more than a century ago.

The first episode, tracing the birth of country music, premiered Aug. 24, and new episodes will debut biweekly on Mondays through October, available on streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more.

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