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VOL. 42 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 09, 2018

Restaurant Group buys 34 area Wendy’s

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JAE Restaurant Group, a multi-unit franchisee of Wendy’s fast food restaurants, has acquired 34 Wendy’s throughout Knoxville. JAE will employee 1,150 Wendy’s workers in Knoxville.

The Knoxville market locations were sold to JAE as part of Wendy’s System Optimization Initiative to sell hundreds of restaurants to franchisees. The shifting from company-owned to franchise transactions and franchise to franchise is part of Wendy’s brand transformation strategy.

The company owns 212 Wendy’s restaurants with two locations currently under construction. JAE plans to remodel four Wendy’s in Knoxville this year to include updated features such as fireplaces, a variety of inviting seating options, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and digital menu boards.

The company plans to remodel all Knoxville Wendy’s and open another 10 to 12 locations in the market over the next four years.

“We strive to remain leaders in the nation’s evolving quick service restaurant industry by delivering an exceptional experience of quality, service and cleanliness to our customers through high quality food, friendly staff, high operational standards and being engaged in our communities,” says Eddie Rodriguez, chairman of JAE Restaurant Group. “JAE looks forward to expanding Wendy’s presence and positively impacting communities throughout Knoxville and across the country.”

“We chose to invest in the Knoxville market because it’s one of the highest growth areas in the country right now, thanks to its friendly tax environment, affordable housing, younger population and large number of university students,” says Jhonny Mercado, co-chairman of JAE Restaurant Group.

The Tennessean hotel wins Orchids award

Keep Knoxville Beautiful recently announced the winners of its annual Orchids Beautification Awards.

The event honored Knoxville’s most beautiful properties by presenting awards in six different categories.

“We received a wide range of nominated properties that exemplify Knoxville’s continuous development,” says Alanna McKissack, Keep Knoxville Beautiful executive director. “Once again, the Redesign/Reuse category continues to be our strongest, with projects showcasing Knoxville’s value for historical preservation.”

The winners and categories are:

• The Tennessean luxury hotel near Market Square downtown won in the redesign and reuse category.

• There were two winners in the outdoor space category, Baker Creek Preserve and the Marble Hall and Pavilion at Lakeshore Park.

• In the new architecture category, there were two winners, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.

• Knoxville Zoo was he winner in the public art division.

• Elkmont Exchange and So Kno Taco were the winners in the restaurant/café/bar/brewery category.

• The City of Knoxville Public Works Building won for environmental stewardship.

• In addition, the Mary Lou Horner Award was presented to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, and Fran Nichols was the recipient of the Felicia Harris Hoehne for keeping Knoxville clean and green.

New LED streetlights installed for pilot

The pilot phase of the City of Knoxville’s LED retrofit project is underway, with 17 intersections and stretches of roadway outfitted with new LED streetlights.

The next step is for project contractor Siemens, City staff and residents to analyze the pilot phase.

The new streetlights are at

• Union Avenue near Market Square

• Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue at Olive

• James White Parkway near the Hall of Fame on ramp

• Central Street at Broadway

• Gill Avenue between Gratz and Third streets

• Interstate 40 and Interstate 275 interchange

• Magnolia Avenue between Mary and Beaman streets

• Chilhowee Drive at Asheville Highway

• Chapman Highway at Woodlawn Pike

• Sequoyah Hills at Kenesaw/Keowee avenues

• Lyons View Pike at Northshore Drive

• Middlebrook Pike at Amherst Drive

• Ball Camp Pike at Bradshaw Road

• Texas Avenue between Stonewall and Sherman streets

• Cedar Lane between Parkdale and Lyndell roads

• Broadway between Woodrow Drive and Highland Avenue

• Winston Road between Kingston Pike and the I-40 overpass

311 Center wins 2018 Teamwork award

Knoxville’s 311 Center for Service Innovation has won the 2018 Teamwork award.

The honor is given by the Government Contact Services Community of Practice, an organization that promotes networking and the exchange of effective practices among customer-service oriented governmental entities.

“This award is an acknowledgment of our strong relationships with all City departments, the community and agencies like Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Office on Aging, KAT and Emergency Management Agency,” says 311 Russ Jensen, director.

He was hired in 2004 to lead and develop the service center department.

“We couldn’t support residents with our high level of customer service without supporting each other first,’’ he adds.

Jensen attributes the win to 311’s work assisting victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires that began Nov. 28, 2016. Requests for help and offers to volunteer and donate were quickly channeled through MountainTough.org and East Tennessee 211, a social service helpline funded through United Ways of East Tennessee and staffed by 311 operators.

Covenant pioneers new heart initiative

Three Covenant Health hospitals have joined other community health care providers in a new “Shock Initiative” aimed at treating heart attack patients that incorporates a newly developed shock algorithm which improves survival.

The hospitals are Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville and Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, all part of Covenant Health.

In cardiogenic shock a patient’s heart function drops dramatically, leading to low blood pressure and decreased blood flow to vital organs. Traditionally, physicians have had to rely on slower-acting medications and less effective mechanical devices to keep the heart functioning, but often the circulation of blood flow is not enough to keep the vital organs working properly, leading to a 50 percent chance of death.

With the ‘shock initiative’, survival rates have improved to almost 80 percent. The protocol uses a device known as the Impella, which is a small pump that alleviates the work of the heart during a heart attack.

The protocol incorporates an algorithm that allows doctors and nurses to wean off the medications that can worsen outcomes in patients with shock.

Lead Covenant Health cardiologists pioneering the initiative include Todd Justice, M.D, Methodist Medical Center; Ayaz Rahman, M.D., Parkwest Medical Center; and Joshua Todd, M.D., Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.

Volapalooza seeks partnerships for event

Volapalooza, the University of Tennessee’s largest student-organized event of the year, will be held on April 27 at World’s Fair Park.

The music festival, now in its 16th year, is expecting between 4,000 and 7,000 festival goers and needs support from sponsors and partners.

Upjohn funds Promise research at Boyd

The Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee has received supplemental funding from the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

The grant will help with research about Tennessee Promise, the state’s initiative to provide a tuition-free education at a community or technical college in Tennessee.

The Upjohn Institute is at the forefront of studying the promise model, beginning with rigorous research on the impact of the Kalamazoo, Michigan, Promise. The University of Arkansas and the University of Pittsburgh will also receive funds from the Upjohn Institute as part of the $430,000 grant.

Dr. Celeste Carruthers, an associate professor with the Boyd Center and the Department of Economics, will use the funds to supplement research she is doing in partnership with Vanderbilt University on the state’s “Drive to 55” campaign. The campaign, created in 2013 as an effort to have 55 percent of working-age Tennesseans hold a postsecondary credential by 2025, includes Tennessee Promise.

Green McAdoo Center on Civil Rights Trail

Tennessee’s Tourism Development department has dedicated 10 sites on the newly launched U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

Sites in East Tennessee are The Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton along with the 12 statues that honor and tell the stories of twelve brave students who desegregated Clinton High School.

The announcement, made by Gov. Bill Haslam, was made during a press conference at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

“The National Civil Rights Museum provides a world-class experience for visitors who seek to learn about the struggles and triumphs of civil rights,” Haslam says. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a movement of faith-based non-violent protest to fight the injustices of segregation that led to significant civil-rights advances for African Americans. Although his life was taken at the Lorraine Motel, his legacy lives on here and in many places across Tennessee. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a journey of discovery and education about events that shifted the course of history for our country and for our state.”

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks primarily in Southern states where activists challenged segregation in the 1950s and 1960s to advance social justice. State tourism agencies, in partnership with Travel South USA, worked together to launch the trail January 15th, highlighting more than 100 sites in 14 states.

The 10 sites featured on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in Tennessee are the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Clayborn Temple and the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis. Locations in Nashville include The Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library, Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, Davidson County Courthouse & the Witness Walls, Woolworth on 5th, Fisk University and Griggs Hall at American Baptist College.