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VOL. 42 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 13, 2018

Lumber company to expand operations

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New River Hardwoods, Inc., has announced it will invest $3.8 million in its operations on Roan Mountain in Carter County.

The lumber and hardwood company will also create approximately 25 manufacturing and production jobs and will install new equipment and convert its log yard into a lumber manufacturing facility.

Headquartered in Beckley, West Virginia, New River operates facilities in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The company began lumber production in 1991 and produces more than 40 million board feet of high quality hardwood lumber annually.

In addition to its Roan Mountain location, New River operates millworks, dry kilns and sawmill facilities in Mountain City, a sawmill near Cumberland Gap and a log and lumberyard in Erwin.

“New River Hardwoods appreciates all the support provided by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Carter County Mayor’s office and county commissioners,” says Wayne Law, president of New River Hardwoods. “We look forward to starting production at the site this spring and are excited about providing positive economic opportunities in the Roan Mountain community.”

NN to purchase Paragon Medical

NN, Inc., a diversified industrial company headquartered in Johnson City, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire PMG Intermediate Holding Corporation, the parent company of Paragon Medical, Inc. for $375 million in cash.

Paragon is a device manufacturer that focuses on the orthopedic, case and tray, implant and instrument markets. NN expects the transaction will close in the second quarter of 2018 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is acting as the financial advisor to NN, and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is serving as the legal advisor to NN.

Paragon Medical creates partnerships with its customers by providing premier engineering from inception of a project to its completion.

Tobias Buck, president, CEO and founder of Paragon Medical says, “Combining our great franchise with NN under their Life Sciences division is an exciting opportunity for Paragon’s customers and associates.

“NN’s focus on delivering engineered solutions that help their customers bring new products to market aligns perfectly with Paragon’s core mission and values. The combined company creates a dynamic portfolio that meets our customers’ needs across a broad platform of end markets and product offerings.”

First Utility receives AAA bond rating

First Utility District has received an upgrade to its municipal bond credit rating to AAA.

The district serves a base of 36,000 water and 33,000 sewer customers in the Concord and Farragut areas of west Knoxville.

The AAA rating is the highest rating reserved for issuers with “extremely strong credit worthiness,” and accounting for only about 5 percent of water and sewer bond ratings,’’ according to S&P Global Ratings.

The report highlights First Utility’s diverse economic base, strong operational management, consistently strong debt service coverage, low level of outstanding debt and sound investment and reserve policies as factors for the upgrade.

S&P Global also noted that the operational management of the district received the highest mark given to issuers.

This AAA rating brings First Utility into the same credit category as Memphis Water, KUB Water and Consolidated Utility District of Rutherford County.

First Utility received the AAA rating on both their water and sewer services and is the only utility district in the state with a large sewer system to receive the AAA rating.

First Utility’s General Manager Bruce Giles notes, “We are very proud to have received this bond rating from S&P Global. It is recognition of our low rates coupled with strong operational and financial management. I am also very proud of our management team, our Board of Commissioners and employees at every level who have worked hard to make this happen.”

Knoxville gets road cycling events

Knoxville will host all U.S. national championships in professional road cycling during the same week and under the organizational umbrella.

This is a first for professional road cycling.

The 2018 USA Cycling Professional Road, Individual Time Trial and Criterium National Championships will be held June 21-24.

This is the second year for Knoxville to host the U.S. Pro Road and Individual Time Trial championships. The U.S. Pro Criterium championships, held in Louisville, Ky., in 2017, were staged in conjunction with the U.S. Amateur Road National Championships in previous years.

In partnership with Visit Knoxville and USA Cycling, event management agency Medalist Sports has designed new courses for the championships this summer. The ITT will be held Thursday, June 21 on a 7-mile section of roadway that traverse the banks of Melton Lake and the Oak Ridge Rowing venue.

Friday will add the criterium events to downtown Knoxville, with the start and finish on Gay Street. Championship races will conclude Sunday with the signature road races on a similar 8-mile course that was used in 2017. This year the women’s and men’s road races will feature the Gay Street corridor for the start/finish line, expo activities and award ceremonies.

Intersection to reopen after construction

The intersection of North Central Street and North Broadway in Knoxville is scheduled to reopen Friday, April 13.

Contractor crews have been installing storm drainage infrastructure as part of Knoxville’s $5.8 million North Central Street streetscapes project.

The streetscapes project is replacing storm drains and stormwater pipes and repairing and constructing new sidewalks on North Central between West Depot Avenue and Woodland Avenue. A linear park is planned for the block of North Central Street between Baxter and Hinton avenues.

Combined with Knoxville Utilities Board’s $1.85 million investment to upgrade gas lines, water main and fire hydrants through the 10-block area, the total public investment in the North Central Street Streetscapes Project is expected to total about $7.65 million.

The infrastructure upgrades include replacing some very old components. For example, KUB’s work included replacing a section of cast iron water main dating back to 1893. The City’s stormwater system improvements included, in one case, replacement of some pre-World War II clay pipe.

The KUB work is finished, and the City’s portion of the project – 80 percent funded by the Federal Highway Administration, with a 20 percent match in local funding by the City – is scheduled to be completed by early 2019. The linear park plantings will be done in either spring or fall 2019, depending on the pace of the infrastructure installation and the weather.

Recycled sculpture goes on display

“The Art of Recycling” sculpture exhibition will be on display through April 22 at the Knoxville Convention Center on the Clinch Concourse.

The sculptures were created by University of Tennessee art students with materials provided by steel recycler, Gerdau.

In January, Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill opened its scrapyard to the students, along with John Powers, UT associate professor of sculpture and time-based art. The students selected 3,540 pounds of discarded metal and steel, provided free of charge by Gerdau, and gained inspiration for new works of art.

Participating UT students include Reid Arowood, Mary Badillo, Amanda Beasley, Thomas Colabella, Zachary Edwards, Shannon Frisco, Troy Houk, Michaela Leib and Dylan Tan.

“Every day, Gerdau creates new steel from discarded scrap metal, preparing it for use in our cities’ infrastructures and keeping it from landfills,” says Johnny Miller, vice president and general manager of Gerdau’s steel mill in Knoxville. “This art project provides an excellent opportunity to support these student sculptors, celebrate National Recycling Month and educate the public about how ‘green’ steel manufacturing really is.”

Gerdau has partnered with Dogwood Arts for the past eight years and appreciates the opportunity to provide the students with both raw materials and artistic inspiration.

“This event is fun for us,” Miller said. “Scrap steel is a challenging raw material, so we are always impressed with the creative ways these students transform random pieces of discarded steel into unique works of art.”

Navarro Research gets NASA pact

Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., of Oak Ridge, has an extended contract with NASA.

The pact is for continued environmental compliance and operation services at the agency’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Environmental Compliance and Operation 2 is a five-year hybrid, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, with cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price task orders. The contract, with a total potential value of $80 million, will be effective from June 1, 2018, through May 31, 2023.

Under ECO2, Navarro will provide expertise at White Sands for environmental restoration, multi-media environmental compliance and sustainability program services, as well as general environmental operational support, including overall program management.

White Sands is a component of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

A self-contained facility with medical, fire and hazardous rescue personnel, it tests and evaluates potentially hazardous materials, spaceflight components and rocket propulsion systems for NASA centers, other government agencies and private industry.

Urgent care targeting children to open

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Urgent CareEast Tennessee Children’s Hospital is partnering with TeamHealth to open Knoxville’s first pediatric, after-hours urgent care center. Children’s Hospital Urgent Care is on the hospital’s West Campus at Westland and Pellissippi Parkway.

It begins seeing patients on April 16.

The urgent care center will be open nights, weekends and holidays to provide immediate medical attention to children when pediatricians’ offices are typically closed.

Children, from birth to 21 years of age will be treated for minor accidents or illnesses in a pediatric-centered, family-friendly environment. The clinical team will work hand-in-hand with the child’s primary doctor, providing a treatment summary to the patient’s pediatrician within 24 hours of their visit to the urgent care center.