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VOL. 42 | NO. 27 | Friday, July 6, 2018

New census data: State getting older

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Tennessee is following national trends of an aging population, according to new U.S. Census information.

The state’s median age has increased from 38.0 years to 38.7 years from 2010 to 2017, making it the 22nd oldest state in the nation, according to the Census Bureau and the Tennessee State Data Center, which is housed within the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business.

The nation’s median age increased from 37.2 years to 38.0 years during the same period.

“Baby boomers and millennials alike are responsible for this trend in increased aging,” says Molly Cromwell, a demographer with the Census Bureau. “Boomers continue to age and are slowly outnumbering children as the birth rate has declined steadily over the last decade.”

Baby boomers in Tennessee (ages 53 to 71 in 2017) are the largest portion of the state’s population at 23.1 percent, followed by millennials at 21.6 percent.

Tennessee counties also are aging as the nation is – all 95 counties experienced growth in their population ages 55 and older from 2016 to 2017, with the largest being in Middle Tennessee.

Based on 2017 median age, the youngest counties in the state are located in urban/metro areas, and the oldest counties are more rural.

Eighty-three counties had either increases or no change in median age from 2016 to 2017, while 12 counties saw a decrease in median age.

HealthStar, CEO get Canadian patent

Knoxville-based HealthStar, LLC, and its founder and CEO Dr. Ed Breazeale, have earned an additional patent for the company’s innovative approach to electronic visit verification.

The patent was issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

In 2007, Breazeale designed the proprietary, GPS-based technology to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in Medicaid reimbursement for services delivered in a home-based setting.

“Healthcare costs are a national concern,” Breazeale says. “HealthStar Visit substantially mitigates improper payments, equips payers with management tools for oversight, and provides an easy-to-use solution for providers.

“It’s a win for all stakeholders.”

In Dec. 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, which requires the use of EVV technology for all Medicaid-provided personal care and home health services by Jan. 1, 2019.

HealthStar Visit’s patented technology correlates the location-time data generated by a mobile electronic device with pre-approved data specified in a patient’s plan of care.

No tuition increase for UT-Knoxville

The University of Tennessee Knoxville will not increase tuition for the upcoming academic year, the first time since 1984 that tuition has held steady on the campus.

The UT Board of Trustees recently approved a $1.2 billion budget for the 2018–19 fiscal year. This is the fourth straight year the university has held tuition increases at or below 3 percent.

“It is our mission to provide not only the highest quality education here at UT Knoxville, but an affordable one that offers opportunity to students across Tennessee and beyond,” says Wayne T. Davis, the university’s interim chancellor.

“A zero-percent tuition increase shows how seriously we take that commitment. It also speaks to the commitment from the state to invest in its public universities.’’

The board approved an increase to the Student Program and Services Fee by $36 per student.

UT’s 2018-19 budget includes $5.8 million in capital maintenance for roof replacements and an additional $12.5 million in recurring state appropriations. Of that, $5.5 million will go toward a 2.5 percent salary pool, the total cost of which is $7.25 million.

The pool will be used for merit and market raises. Any employee earning $40,000 and below will receive a minimum of $600 and be eligible for a merit increase based on performance.

Allegiant to add base at McGhee Tyson

Allegiant Travel Company has announced plans to establish a two-aircraft base at McGhee Tyson Airport.

The company plans to create up to 66 new jobs in the area.

“Over the past decade, Allegiant Air has provided low-fare nonstop flights to popular destinations from McGhee Tyson Airport,” says Eddie Mannis, chairman of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. “They are continuing to support our region by selecting our airport as a base of operation, leading to more jobs and travel opportunities for the people of East Tennessee.”

The Las Vegas-based company is investing more than $50 million to establish its new base of operations, which will house two Airbus aircraft. The company plans to begin its base operations at McGhee Tyson in October 2018.

Allegiant serves 27 routes from five cities in the state of Tennessee, including flights from Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Tri-Cities. Of the routes, 22 are non-competitive, providing Tennesseans more nonstop options across the country.

Allegiant began operating at McGhee Tyson Airport in December 2006. Knoxville will become the airline’s 15th aircraft base.

Partnership to help mechanics in training

The city of Knoxville’s Fleet Services has created an apprentice program for new mechanics.

Fleet Services has partnered with the Community Action Committee and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology to assist trainees, many of whom face some roadblocks along the way.

Aspiring mechanics face a year of classes required to obtain certifications, and new mechanics must start off with a personal tool inventory, typically an outlay of $10,000 or more.

With the apprenticeship, students earn money as they learn their trade while being overseen by a mentor mechanic from Fleet Services.

KSO to appear at SHIFT festival in 2020

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra has been selected to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., during “SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras” from March 23-29, 2020.

Only four orchestras were selected to participate in the festival. Chosen from a pool of applicants, the Knoxville Symphony will join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Orpheus (New York) Chamber Orchestra.

The participating orchestras will spotlight a diverse repertoire that has been influenced and inspired by history, local geography, various cultures, theater and other genres of music, including jazz, spirituals and gospel.

Integral to the ensembles’ work as part of the festival is the residency element, which reflects the education and engagement work that the orchestras do in their own communities.

UT sports partnership recognized by ESPN

A partnership with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has been named a Stuart Scott ENSPIRE award honoree at ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Awards.

The awards ceremony will take place July 17 in Los Angeles.

“We are truly honored to receive one of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Awards and appreciate so much our partnership with the U.S. Department of State and espnW that made it possible,” says Sarah Hillyer, director of the CSPS.

“Together and alongside brave and courageous women from all over the world, we are fulfilling our dream of leveraging the unique power of sport-based innovation to create a more equitable world for women and girls.’’

The finalists and winners for the award were determined by a selection committee, which included Nick Keller, founder and president of Beyond Sport; Donald Lassere, CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, CEO of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA; Sab Singh, founder of Sports Doing Good; and Eli Wolff, director of the Power of Sport Lab and Sport and Society Initiative at Brown University.

“The collective impact that this year’s Sports Humanitarian Award nominees have made in their communities is nothing short of extraordinary,” says Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship.

Gay Street crosswalks replaced this summer

Eight deteriorating brick crosswalks at three South Gay Street intersections will be replaced this summer.

The upgrade to stained stamped concrete crosswalks marks the first major upgrades at the Gay Street intersections with Union and Wall avenues and Summit Hill Drive in 30 years.

Design and Construction Services Inc. has been awarded the $182,040 contract and will be dividing the work into two phases spanning 40 calendar days.

The first phase of work involves replacing four crosswalks at two intersections – three crosswalks at Wall Avenue and Gay, another at Summit Hill and Gay – beginning Monday, July 9.

Once that work is completed, the work will move southward and the four crosswalks at Union Avenue and Gay will be replaced.

The entire project is scheduled to wrap up by Aug. 17, and daily penalties will be assessed if the contractor misses the deadline for completion.

At all times, sidewalks will remain open, and ADA-accessible ramps for temporary crosswalks will be built.

Agriculture School officially honors alumni

The UT Board of Trustees has formally announced the new Herbert College of Agriculture, named for distinguished alumni Jim and Judi Herbert.

The name replaces the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

The Herbert College of Agriculture becomes the third named college in the university’s 224-year history and only the second land-grant agricultural college in the nation named from a philanthropic gift. The Herberts, both alumni of UT Knoxville, are strong supporters of the university and the Institute of Agriculture.

“We are especially pleased about enhancing the student experience through internships in national agribusinesses and international work,” says Jim Herbert, co-founder and executive chairman of Neogen Corporation, an international food safety company headquartered in Lansing, Michigan.

“We hope this gives students studying agriculture every opportunity to become great contributors to their world.”

The college joins the Haslam College of Business and Tickle College of Engineering as the only named UT Knoxville colleges, with benefits that extend well beyond the new name.

Initial plans for the gift include enhanced experiential learning programs for students and faculty.