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VOL. 41 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 10, 2017

Studio Four Design wins Solomon prize

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A Studio Four Design team has won the Solomon Award for church design.

Studio Four, a Knoxville-based firm, worked on the Grace Baptist Church student ministry facility and was recognized by the Worship Facilities Network at the WFX Conference and Expo.

The award was presented in the category of church design – youth and children’s spaces for facilities with 301 to 800 seats. The Grace Baptist Church project was begun in 2016 and completed earlier this year.

Grace Baptist leaders wanted the new environment to be relational and fun for the youth of their church and needed the new building to complement the transitional style and materials of the existing church campus buildings, but also to be uniquely its own to reflect the brand and identity of Grace Student Ministries.

“Expansion is a challenge for any church,” says Stacy Cox, president of Studio Four Design. “The leadership of Grace and their Student Ministry team had a strong vision, and it was our privilege to bring that vision to life.’’

The facility includes a new student auditorium, room for more than 700 students and is designed for a flexible seating. It was built at a cost of $3.5 million.

Water line installation closes Gay Street bridge

The Gay Street Bridge and Council Place will be closed for about month through November.

Charles Blalock & Sons will be installing a water line running between East Blount Avenue and Council Place as part of the Blount Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project.

While the bridge is closed for the installation, vehicles and Knoxville Area Transit’s Route 40 buses will be detoured across the Henley Bridge.

There will be two-way traffic on the section of Sevier Avenue just south of the Gay Street Bridge while Council Place is closed. Bicyclists also will be accommodated along the new two-way route along this section of Sevier Avenue.

Stormwater infrastructure upgrades on Central Street will get underway this year. It is the next major step in the City’s $6 million upgrade of the street corridor that connects downtown and North Knoxville.

Recently, the City Council voted to authorize Mayor Madeline Rogero to execute a $4.7 million contract with Southern Constructors Inc., the same Knoxville-based contractor that completed the $17 million Cumberland Avenue reconstruction on time and within budget.

Once the Central Street contract is finalized and the stormwater system upgrades get underway, there will be additional improvements to be made over a 15-month period to repair and replace sidewalks; construct new curbs, “bulb outs” and other features to improve pedestrian safety; better define on-street parking; and improve bike lane markings.

To complete the project, Central Street between the Old City railroad tracks (near Depot Avenue) and Woodland Avenue will be resurfaced.

Film explores Vietnam, East Tennessee impact

Knox County Public Library will present “The Vietnam War: East Tennessee,” a documentary trilogy at Lawson McGhee Library on Nov. 12.

The film begins at 2 p.m. with each trilogy about 30 minutes long. Admission is free.

The documentary looks at young men and women from the region who volunteered or were drafted to serve in the war, hundreds never returning home.

East Tennesseans opposed to the war clashed with those who supported U.S. policy, culminating in a confrontation between protestors and President Richard Nixon during a Billy Graham evangelical crusade at Neyland Stadium that made headlines all over the world.

Buck Kahler of Nolpix Media was working as an intern at East Tennessee PBS when Ken Burns challenged PBS affiliate stations to create a 30-minute local documentary tie-in for Burns’s & Lynn Novack’s Vietnam retrospective.

“Working on a project in conjunction with Ken Burns would be a dream come true,’’ Kahler says. “As a combat veteran, I wanted to work with other veterans.”

Along with Land Grant Films, a non-profit documentary project at the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism, East Tennessee PBS won a WETA grant for the development of the mini-series, “The Vietnam War: East Tennessee.’’

The first film, “A True American,’’ follows the Vietnam War experiences of five African American soldiers from East Tennessee. The second film, “A Sense of Revolution,’’ was partially funded with a Humanities Tennessee grant due to its focus on national and local social unrest during during the civil rights and Vietnam War era. Finally, in “Generations,’’ Vietnam veterans are paired up with modern war veterans for discussions about their war experiences and their post-war lives.

Sensors could ease parking hassle

The City of Knoxville has installed sensors in the Market Square Garage to count vehicles and keep visitors informed if there is parking availability ahead.

The sensors cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to install in a garage, depending on the facility’s size, number of entrances and number of sensors required.

Installation in the Market Square Garage, with two entrances cost just under $10,000.

Parking Logix says the sensors provide data that’s 99.5 percent accurate. The City is reviewing the system during a trial period, and the sensors could be removed at no cost if the City isn’t satisfied with how they perform.

Large new marquees at the entrances to the Market Square Garage are reporting how many parking spaces are available.

The infrastructure by Parking Logix allows real-time reporting on the Internet, so at some point in the future, if sensors are expanded to additional City-owned garages, motorists could check on a smartphone before leaving the house and determine which City garages have the most available spaces.

Boehringer Ingelheim expands cancer pact

Nashville’s Sarah Cannon Research Institute and Boehringer Ingelheim of Knoxville have announced an expansion of their strategic partnership to bring innovative treatments to cancer patients by developing novel immuno-oncology therapies. The new effort combines Knoxville-based Boehringer Ingelheim’s oncology research and Sarah Cannon’s expertise in clinical trial design and recruitment to evaluate BI 891065, a novel and potent SMAC mimetic, alone and as a potential combination partner with PD-1-directed cancer therapy.

SMAC mimetics are a new class of targeted, small molecules that trigger tumor cell death and immune system activation that may enhance the activity of immunotherapies in the treatment of cancer.

“Ground-breaking advances in immuno-oncology are expected to transform cancer treatment paradigms,’’ says Mehdi Shahidi, M.D., of Boehringer Ingelheim.

“We are significantly expanding our efforts in this area including a broad research program focusing on the development of rational combinations of novel immuno-oncology approaches.’’

Preclinical data, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting and the Keystone Symposia Conference on Molecular and Cellular Biology earlier this year, suggest that BI 891065 is a promising combination partner for checkpoint inhibitors and, when used together, may provide a new approach to cancer therapy.

“We look forward to continuing our research to find more effective therapies for patients across tumor types through novel immune therapies and combinations of therapies,” says Howard A. “Skip” Burris, M.D., president, Clinical Operations and chief medical officer, at Sarah Cannon. “This expanded collaboration furthers our mission to provide access to the latest treatments for our patients.”

SAPremacy moves HQ to Knoxville

SAPremacy Consulting, a global IT consulting firm, is relocating its global headquarters to Knoxville.

The firm will be in the First Tennessee Plaza building located at 800 S. Gay Street.

The firm’s mission speaks to one of the biggest challenges facing eastern Tennessee – creating employment opportunities in the state and keeping the graduates of Tennessee schools in the state.

SAPremacy is currently working with the University of Tennessee to introduce a University Alliance Program that will provide students with certifications and skills employers are looking to hire. This program will give the University of Tennessee access to over 75 million dollars in computer infrastructure and software.

Customers will be able to have:

  • Local access to world class consulting solutions and staffing services
  • A commitment to focus recruiting efforts specifically from Tennessee
  • The opportunity to provide Tennessee students with local employment opportunities and to encourage them to remain in Tennessee upon graduation.

“Having a local physical presence in eastern Tennessee will allow us to grow our footprint throughout the southeast and create employment opportunities to graduates of UT, ETSU and Pellissippi College,’’ owner Brian Adams says.

Riparian tree planting grants available

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced the availability of grant dollars to assist cities, schools, community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations and conservation groups with riparian tree planting projects.

All seedlings must be purchased through the Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry. Tree planting season in Tennessee is December through March.

Five grants, at $500 each, are available, and the funds will be obligated as grants, so the grantee must have a nonprofit tax number. The projects are to be completed, the money spent and a report submitted by June 30, 2018. In order to meet this deadline, TWRA will accept proposals through Nov. 30, 2017.

In East Tennessee, officials handling the grants are:

Region III: Bobby Brown, 464 Industrial Boulevard, Crossville. 931 484-9571, Bobby.Brown@tn.gov

Region IV: Rob Lindbom, 3030 Wildlife Way, Morristown. 423 587-7037, Dennis.Lindbom@tn.gov