Kellyco donates headphones to schools

Friday, January 29, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 5

Kellyco Metal Detectors, a Knoxville-based company, has announced it is donating 2,846 headphone sets to Knox County Schools to make education more accessible to students who are learning remotely during the pandemic.

“These are the same high-quality headphones used by metal detector enthusiasts out in the field,” says Jeremy Floyd, Kellyco’s president.

“Typically, our customers are only interested in hearing chirps and clicks through their headphones because those mean they might be standing on top of some treasure.

“These headphones are also compatible with computers and laboratory equipment, and designed to play high-definition audio, as well.

“If we had sold this assortment of Audio 200 and Eagle brand headphones on, they would have retailed for over $50,000,’’ Floyd adds. “But we believe they can do more good if they stay right here in Knox County, where Kellyco is fortunate to be headquartered.

Swaggerty earns top marks for safety

Swaggerty Sausage Company, based in Kodak, Tennessee, has received the highest possible grade from BRC Food Safety auditors for the eighth consecutive year.

From 2015 to 2020, Swaggerty’s grade has been AA, with top grades of A received in 2013 and 2014. BRC is a globally recognized consumer protection organization used by more than 29,000 certified suppliers in over 130 countries, and BRC Food Safety audits are considered the gold standard.

A focus on quality for food safety has been a tradition with Swaggerty’s for the last 90 years, since Lonas Swaggerty founded the company in 1930.

Quality assurance programs, certifications, and training by specialized food safety organizations like HACCP, PAACO, and Pork Checkoff serve to maintain best-in-class safety practices and assurances for brands like Swaggerty’s.

This highest possible grade in international food safety standards indicates to shoppers, retailers, and fans of Swaggerty’s around the U.S. that Swaggerty’s maintains a steadfast focus on food safety through quality assurance and many other programs.

UT construction on pace despite COVID delays

The University of Tennessee has issued an update on its new and continuing construction projects.

“Because of COVID, a lot of projects have been put on hold,” says Roger McDonald, director of facilities services construction operations. “At the same time, we are moving forward on quite a few other projects.”

Work continues on the new Zeanah Engineering Complex, the Joe Johnson-John Ward Pedestrian Walkway extension, west campus dining facility and additional projects.

On the east end of campus, the structure and exterior walls are up on the Zeanah Engineering Complex next to Neyland Stadium. “It is ahead of schedule and under budget,” says Andy Powers, campus architect.

When finished in fall 2021, the facility will provide 228,000 square feet of classrooms, maker spaces, flexible research laboratories, and offices for the Tickle College of Engineering, including a new home for the Department of Nuclear Engineering.

To the west, work continues on the new dining facility on Andy Holt Avenue. When it opens in fall 2021, the facility will include a full-service Chick-fil-A and a fresh-food concept similar to the one now in place at the Stokely Residence Hall.

Phase I of the Joe Johnson-John Ward Pedestrian Walkway expansion, which goes from the Clarence Brown Theatre westward along Andy Holt Avenue to Frances Street, has been completed. Frances Street, between Presidential Court and Fred Brown Hall, has been closed, although the Office of Equity and Diversity and a service road along the north side of Fred Brown Hall are still accessible.

The section of Melrose Avenue from Presidential Court to the Frieson Black Cultural Center is now a two-way street. Phase II, to begin later in the spring, will extend the walkway to 21st Street.

In addition, on the Institute of Agriculture campus, construction has been completed on the 19,000-square-foot Third Creek Building. It will be the temporary home for agriculture faculty and staff as the Ellington Plant Sciences Building is demolished and rebuilt.

A 161,000-square-foot energy and environmental space research facility, Ellington will include a large auditorium, labs and classrooms, common areas and a food service area.

The College of Veterinary Medicine is also adding a 20,000-square-foot simulation and teaching lab that will include gathering spaces.

At Neyland Stadium, design work has begun on a new video board in the north end zone, a resolution of seating issues in the south end zone, and shoring up maintenance issues in the west seating bowl.

$5.5M I-275 project proceeds on pace

Work is progressing on Knoxville’s $5.5 million Interstate 275 Business Park Access Improvements Project, an underused commercial corridor that’s getting a major overhaul.

The aim is to encourage new business investment and create jobs.

Work has started in upgrading Marion Street, as well as the newly paved Blackstock Avenue Extension.

Crews with Jones Brother Contractors got started last summer on the project, and it is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

The project included building a 1,100-foot extension of Blackstock Avenue, connecting West Fifth Avenue and Bernard Avenue. The 1,600-foot section of Marion Street between Bernard and Baxter avenues is being improved, along with a 650-foot section of Baxter between I-275 and the railroad tracks by Second Creek.

The new section of Blackstock and the upgraded Marion will feature two 11-foot lanes, curb and gutter, 5-foot sidewalks and a 10-foot multipurpose trail from West Fifth Avenue to Bernard Avenue. Marion is being realigned from Dameron Avenue to Baxter Avenue.

There also will be minor improvements to the intersections of Fifth Avenue and Blackstock Avenue; Marion Street and Bernard Avenue and Marion Street and Baxter Avenue.

This corridor has vacant tracts and is strategically located next to an interstate, but it’s underdeveloped right now, in part because of the poor street connectivity. This project will correct that.

Neighborhoods receive grants from city

The City of Knoxville’s Neighborhood Small Grants program has issued awards of $19,500 to six neighborhood organizations.

The Office of Neighborhood Empowerment manages the program, which is designed to strengthen Knoxville’s neighborhoods by supporting neighborhood-led initiatives through financial and technical assistance.

“Our entire city gets stronger when neighbors work together to solve problems and make their neighborhoods safer, enjoyable and sustainable places,” says Neighborhood Coordinator Debbie Sharp.

“This program enables neighborhoods to identify their priorities and work toward fulfilling them. The Office of Neighborhood Empowerment is happy to support their projects.”

These groups completed the application and approval process during 2020, and City Council has approved the program funding. The groups are:

• Fairmont Emoriland Neighborhood Association: $3,000 support to add benches, tables and paths to their Pollinator Garden. Fiscal sponsor: East Tennessee Community Design Center

• Roseberry City Connection Community Organization: $3,000 support to install a sign and rose bushes to help identify this historic area. Fiscal sponsor: East Tennessee Community Design Center

• Town Hall East: $2,500 support to organize an event that brings multiple East Knoxville neighborhoods together for the opportunity to get to know one another and collaborate. Fiscal sponsor: East Tennessee Community Design Center

• Westwood Homeowners Association: $2,500 support to enhance their Park Bench Restoration project. Fiscal sponsor: East Tennessee Community Design Center

• South Woodlawn Neighborhood Association: $4,000 to support the installation of neighborhood identity signage. Fiscal sponsor: Legacy Parks

• Vestal Community Organization: $4,500 to support a bus shelter located on privately owned property to be utilized by the community. Fiscal sponsor: Sustainable Future Center

KBB announces Orchid Award nominees

Keep Knoxville Beautiful has announced the nominees for its annual Orchid Awards, honoring Knoxville’s most beautiful properties, public spaces and public art.

Awards will be presented to winners in six different categories: New Architecture, Redesign/Reuse, Outdoor Space, Community Space, Public Art and Creative Reinvention.

“The nominees for the 39th annual Orchids Awards experienced new hurdles in 2020, but persevered to continue improving our local landscape,’’ says Keep Knoxville Beautiful Executive Director Alanna McKissack.

The nominees for New Architecture are The Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Five Thirty Lounge and KCDC’s Five Points 3.

The nominees for Redesign/Reuse are First Presbyterian Church, Loghaven Artist Residency, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, SmartBank Corporate Headquarters, South High Senior Center, and West Knox Senior Center.

The nominees for Outdoor Space are Baker Creek Bike Park and Gateway Connector Trails, Cal Johnson Park, Everly Brothers Park, IC King Park Expansion, Ladies of Charity Parking Lot Renovation, Lakeshore Park HGTV Overlook, Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza at Campbell Station Inn, Randy Tyree Performance Lawn at World’s Fair Park, and Volunteer Boulevard Beautification.

The nominee for Community Space is Oakwood Lincoln Park’s Burwell Gardens

The nominees for Public Art are Cal Johnson Park Outdoor Basketball Courts and Mount Olive Elementary Tunnel Mural.

For 2021 only, Keep Knoxville Beautiful will present the Creative Reinvention award to the Downtown Knoxville for initiatives such as Peppermint Grove and the extended seating on Market Square. This award is given for creatively adjusting to social distance guidelines.

The Mary Lou Horner Beautification Award will honor Krutch Park. This award is given to an Orchids winner from 10 or more years ago that has maintained their orchid-worthy status.

Robert Graves of Carex Design Group will be honored with The Felicia Award. This award is given to an individual that has exemplified the mission of Keep Knoxville Beautiful.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful will announce the winners of the beautification awards Feb. 1-26 on Facebook.