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VOL. 42 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 9, 2018

Evergreen Ball raises $700K for Smokies

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The annual Friends of the Smokies Evergreen Ball, held Jan. 27, raised more than $700,000 for the park’s annual needs.

The fundraiser featured a silent auction, wine auction and live auction with more than 500 items, including one-of-a-kind experiences and vacation packages to HGTV’s Dream Home in Gig Harbor, Washington and the Grand Canyon.

Money raised from the event will help support education, conservation, historic preservation and wildlife protection programs in GSMNP. This special event also kicked off celebrations of Friends of the Smokies’ 25th anniversary. The organization has raised more than $60 million in support of GSMNP since it was founded in 1993.

A portion of the proceeds raised at the 2018 Evergreen Ball will go towards Friends of the Smokies’ 25th anniversary signature project – a campaign to replace the Park’s emergency radio system. The fundraising goal of $1.25 million will be matched by federal funding and grants for a total of $2.5 million needed to replace the aging communication system.

Harvard, UT, Penn partner on 3D

Researchers from the University of Tennessee, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania have teamed up on a 3D printing project.

They are working on new pathways to 3D print short-fiber-reinforced materials with precisely controlled fiber arrangements.

Currently, 3D printing methods for polymer composites build parts by extruding materials through a nozzle that simply moves back and forth in a series of lines to define the desired shape.

The team’s advance adds precisely controlled rotation of the nozzle to the mix to allow variation of the fiber arrangement throughout the printing process. The new process, called rotational 3D printing, results in unique helical fiber arrangements that provide superior damage resistance to printed materials.

In simple terms, carbon fibers adopt spiral patterns as they are printed within an epoxy resin, much as steel wires are bundled and twisted together into larger, stronger cables.

“Having the ability to change fiber orientation without changing the tool path used to deposit the material means that optimal or near-optimal fiber arrangements can be achieved at every location in the printed part, resulting in higher strength and stiffness with less material,” says Brett Compton, a co-author of the study and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UT.

The team was led by Professor Jennifer Lewis at Harvard University and includes researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and ETH Zurich, a top research university in Switzerland.

Dollywood announces shows for 2018 season

Dollywood has announced its lineup of “Season of Showstoppers,’’ for spring.

In 2018, the entertainment complex will also launch its new Festival of Nations event (March 17-April 9).

Three internationally-known groups – all new to Dollywood in 2018 – headline this season’s festival. The National Dance Company of Siberia, The Flamenco Kings starring Los Vivancos, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a group that worked with Dolly on her 1996 album Treasures, bring three unique, high-energy shows to Dollywood.

Also, new to Festival of Nations is JigJam, a quartet from the heart of Ireland that blends traditional Irish music with bluegrass to create a new genre known as “Celtgrass.”

New multi-day tickets allow guests to purchase tickets for two or three days, providing them more flexibility to enjoy performances across multiple days during their visit to the award-winning park.

The first week includes classic country artists like Crystal Gayle, Shenandoah, Pam Tillis and Dollywood entertainment alumnus, Suzy Bogguss. The second week plays host to inspirational artists including Amy Grant, The Blind Boys of Alabama and comedienne Chonda Pierce – also known as “The Queen of Clean.” Classic artists like The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters and The Atlanta Rhythm Section entertain park guests during the final week of the event.

Knoxville wins Mayors’ healthy children grant

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has announced Knoxville as the 2018 1st place medium-sized city winner in the Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant program.

Sponsored by the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America, Knoxville will receive a $120,000 grant to allow Knoxville Parks and Recreation to expand the City’s “Neighborhoods to Nature” program, which aims to promote proximity to outdoor play.

“We’re grateful for this grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America,” says Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Our staff will be able to take more neighborhoods to nature, introducing families to the healthy lives that await them literally out their front door.”

Lakeshore Park receives $3M grant for overlook

Scripps Networks Interactive has donated $3 million to Lakeshore Park, the most utilized public green space in Knoxville.

The funds are for the construction of a new scenic overlook to be named in honor of home and garden cable network HGTV.

“Scripps Networks Interactive has been a longtime supporter of the park and has sponsored employee work days and other events at the park,” says Dee Haslam, park chair. “We are very excited Scripps has decided to increase its investment in the park.”

Haslam adds the project will be located in the center of the park, on the hillside below the historic administration building. The view from the site is considered one of the most spectacular views in the city, including the special events field and lawns at the park and continues along the Tennessee River toward the Great Smoky Mountains. The vista includes Chilhowee Mountain in the middle distance and some of the highest peaks of the Smokies, including Mount LeConte at 6,593 feet and Clingman’s Dome at 6,642 feet.

“Scripps Networks is a great asset for Knoxville and an outstanding corporate citizen, and I am very grateful for this generous donation in HGTV’s name to develop the Lakeshore Park overlook,” says Mayor Madeline Rogero.

The HGTV project will be designed by Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, a 45-person firm with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, and New York City. The project is set for completion in summer 2019.

City seeks to help the homeless

The City of Knoxville is accepting applications for grants to fund programs that work to reduce and end homelessness.

Applications are available at and completed forms are due to the City of Knoxville’s Community Development Department by Feb. 23.

“Our partnerships with homeless-service providers are essential to helping people in Knoxville avoid becoming homeless, find housing quickly if they lose it and provide essential services to the chronically homeless,” says Becky Wade, Director of the City’s Community Development Department.

These annually awarded Homeless Grants may include funding from multiple sources, including the City of Knoxville, Tennessee Housing and Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Convention Center gets new name, logo

The Knoxville Convention and Exhibition Center has a new name, the World’s Fair Exhibition Hall.

The exhibition hall, which faces the World’s Fair Park Festival Lawn, was originally built for the 1982 World’s Fair, where it housed the Technology and Lifestyle Center. After the Fair it served convention goers and hosted events until the new Knoxville Convention Center was built in 2002.

Mayor Madeline Rogero and City Council approved $2.1 million for updates to the facility, including the HV/AC unit, roof and remodeled bathrooms. There are three halls, and the building boasts a total of 66,396 square feet.

World’s Fair Exhibition Hall will continue to be managed by SMG Knoxville a company that also manages three other city-owned facilities – the Knoxville Convention Center, Knoxville Civic Auditorium-Coliseum and Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center.

The new logo, designed by Visit Knoxville, features the iconic flame symbol of the 1982 World’s Fair and the colors of the international flags in blocks that are reminiscent of another memorable World’s Fair image: the Rubik’s Cube.

Tennova Healthcare announces changes

Tennova Healthcare has announced it plans to reconfigure its Knoxville operations.

Under the plan, Tennova will change the inpatient services offered at North Knoxville Medical Center, Physicians Regional Medical Center and Turkey Creek Medical Center and develop new outpatient centers in the Knoxville area.

The company will no longer build a replacement hospital for Physicians Regional Medical Center.

“As we reevaluated our strategy for Knoxville, we determined that strengthening our existing facilities and pursuing a new outpatient strategy will allow us to better meet the needs and preferences of today’s healthcare consumers and support the way our physician partners prefer to practice,” says Tony Benton, chief executive officer for Tennova Healthcare in East Tennessee.

“We have an outstanding medical staff and compassionate employees, and we are excited to move forward with them to advance our care and services.

“Given the changes in the healthcare industry, building a new hospital is unnecessary and would not be prudent for our health system and the Knoxville community. By making these adjustments we will ultimately improve the operations of our Knoxville area hospitals.”

Since Tennova Healthcare was awarded a Certificate of Need to build a replacement hospital off Middlebrook Pike, the healthcare landscape has continued to evolve, and the shift to delivering care in more efficient and cost-effective outpatient settings has accelerated.

East Tennessee students break Guinness record

Students from Knox County Schools and Oak Ridge City Schools have broken the Guinness World Record for the largest computer programming lesson.

Officials from Guinness have now officially certified the world record for the number of students simultaneously learning how to code.

The attempt to break the record was led by Brandon Bruce, co-founder and chief operating officer of Cirrus Insight, and Caleb Fristoe, project manager of CodeTN, a Great Schools Partnership initiative that organizes coding clubs, camps and competitions.

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