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VOL. 43 | NO. 14 | Friday, April 5, 2019

City works to get scooter trend on right path

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Knoxville is bringing its electric scooter pilot program along slowly.

In Nashville, scooters simply showed up one day, leaving Metro Council members, pedestrians and police confused about the rules and regulations about the trendy mode of transportation.

Users still ride illegally on sidewalks and sometimes block sidewalks with the scooters when finished.

In Knoxville, Zagster, which operates the local Pace bike-sharing program, has its Spin scooters on downtown streets. VeoRide will introduce its scooters in the coming weeks.

Spin and VeoRide each will provide an initial supply of 250 electric scooters and will adjust supply based on demand.

The pilot program is for one year, which can be renewed. Knoxville, or the companies, may end the pilot agreement with 30 days’ notice.

Both companies are the first electric scooter-sharing companies to provide services following a moratorium that allowed Knoxville officials time to review best practices and provide some guidance for a program.

“We have taken our time to learn from other cities and feel we have selected two companies that will be flexible and responsive to the needs of Knoxville,” says Mayor Madeline Rogero.

Initially, the electric scooters will be staged across downtown and major residential and commercial corridors.

Per the pilot program rules and city ordinances, electric scooters must be ridden in the streets and are not allowed on sidewalks or greenways. Electric scooters will be treated similar to bicycles ridden on city roads.

The scooters can be ridden on many downtown streets, but not currently on Market Square, Cumberland Avenue or Henley Bridge.

The Spin App provides uses with a map of areas where electric scooters are permitted. If a rider approaches the border of the approved area, the scooter will provide a warning to turn around or change direction or slow to a stop.

Riders must be 18 years of age or 13-17 with adult permission and supervision. A valid identification indicating age will be required to rent a scooter.

Scooters can travel at a maximum of 15 mph, but speeds may be lowered or restricted remotely based on special events. Scooter are availabile 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, depending on weather and events. Rain, or the threat of rain, may make rentals unavailable.

Workshops focus on neighborhood safety

Knoxville’s Office of Neighborhoods and the Police Advisory and Review Committee are collaborating with the Knoxville Police Department to host a series of workshops designed to inform residents about neighborhood-specific safety practices.

Workshop presenters will share crime statistics, updates on recent safety-related activities and ways residents can help prevent crime in their neighborhoods. Each workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to report safety concerns about their specific areas.

Workshops will be held:

• June 24: South Knoxville, Woodlawn Christian Church, 4339 Woodlawn Pike, 6 p.m.

• Sept. 17: East Knoxville, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Avenue, 6 p.m.

• Dec. 5: West Knoxville, Arnstein Jewish Community Center, 6800 Deane Hill Drive, 6 p.m.

Registration for workshops is not required, but guests may RSVP to the events posted at

ORNL technologies recognized

Two technologies from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received national Excellence in Technology Transfer awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.

ORNL received two of the six FLC awards given to Department of Energy national labs recognizing the successful transfer of federal laboratory technologies to the marketplace.

The technologies are: “Qrypt Licensing of Quantum Random Number Generator from ORNL” and “Strategic Licensing of the LandScan/LandCast Population Datasets.”

Qrypt, Inc. has exclusively licensed a novel cybersecurity technology from ORNL that promises a stronger defense against cyberattacks including those posed by quantum computing.

ORNL researchers are Raphael Pooser, Travis Humble, Brian Williams, Bing Qi and Benjamin Lawrie. Commercialization was led by Eugene Cochran.

The LandScan Global Population Datasets have been actively and successfully licensed for 15 years, demonstrating a sustained technology transfer success story due to the continued need across all user communities – federal, research and public. The annually released datasets have become the industry standard for population distribution. LandCast is a relatively new dataset duo that projects future population distributions for the years 2030 and 2050.

ORNL researchers are Amy Rose, Marie Urban, Jake McKee, Aaron Myers, Eddie Bright (retired) and Budhu Bhaduri. Commercialization was led by David Sims.

Covenant offer app for imaging pricing

Knoxville-based Covenant Health has launched a website that allows consumers to purchase specific imaging services and pay “out of pocket” rates listed online for each screening.

The imaging services are offered at the Fort Sanders West Diagnostic Center, located near the intersection of Kingston Pike and Pellissippi Parkway. Available services include MRIs (with or without contrast), CT scans (with or without contrast), digital 3D or 2D screening mammograms, ultrasound procedures and X-rays.

The out-of-pocket rates also include the radiologist’s review fees, so consumers who choose these services pay one price – they will not receive a separate bill from the physician who reads and reports the test results.

Anyone may use the direct purchase imaging services with the exception of patients covered by governmental health care programs, such as Medicare, Medicare Advantage, TennCare/Medicaid and TriCare.

No insurance claims are filed in conjunction with these imaging services, although the consumer may be able to apply the imaging cost toward an insurance deductible. Not all plans permit applying out-of-pocket purchased services toward a deductible. A physician’s order is required for all imaging services except screening mammograms.

Summit Medical Group rates highly in survey

SurveyVitals patient surveys report 15 Summit Medical Group locations ranked in the top 10 percent for patient experience among health care providers in the U.S.

In addition, Summit Medical Group’s overall composite score for all physician locations is 4.81 out of 5 stars.

The 15 Summit Medical Group locations ranked in the top 10 percent for overall best patient experience in 2018 are:

Fort Loudon Family Medical Center, Greeneville Family Medicine, Greeneville Internal Medicine & Family Practice, Internal Medicine Associates, Kenneth C. Reese, M.D., Kim H. Cline, M.D., M. Scott Gardner, D.O., Middle Creek Family Practice, Philip Thwing, M.D., Powell Family Physicians, Summit Medical Group at Deane Hill, Summit Medical Group at Northshore, Summit Medical Group of Clinton, Summit Pediatrics at Maryville, Summit Medical Group at Tellico Village

Three other locations received scores in the top 10 percent but were not named to the final list because they joined Summit Medical Group within the year of 2018 and didn’t have surveys for all quarters. They are: Summit Urgent Care of Greeneville, Shults Pediatrics and Children’s Faith Pediatrics.

DeGeneres honors Gibbs Elementary

Gibbs Elementary School in Corryton recently received $20,000 from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Staffers had played a version of the “Taste Buds,’’ game, an Ellen feature, looking to bring in some good cheer after countywide flooding and a flu outbreak, then shared photos on Twitter.

DeGeneres was soon on a surprise video link with the school, a segment that lasted about six minutes. After interacting with staffers, the star presented the school with $20,000 in cash from Shutterfly, one of her sponsors.

Blount approves Blackberry rezoning

The Blount County Commission has approved a rezoning request from Blackberry Farm for around 18 acres along and adjacent to East Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Old Walland Highway and E. Millers Cove Road, all in Walland.

The resolution was amended to remove parcel No. 15.0 at the request of Blackberry. A Blackberry representative says plan can accomplish the revitalization of “downtown Walland” without rezoning of that parcel.

The new Walland redevelopment is designed to be enjoyed by guests of Blackberry and local residents, and will include a general store in the Chilhowee Inn, and a bicycle shop and eatery on the river, where a restaurant was years ago.

A $20,000 grant was recently approved by the commission so the county health department can apply for a State 2019 Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environments grant program.

The will be used for partnership to assist Friendsville in their plans and expenses for an ADA compliant, all-inclusive playground and pavilion area.

Another grant was approved for used oil recycling at the Blount County Recycling Center, 331 Levi Street, next door to our Blount County Operations Center off McArthur Road.

McClung Museum recognized for education

The University of Tennessee’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture has received an award for its educational programming.

The honor was bestowed by the Tennessee Association of Museums and is one of 50 recognitions the McClung has received from the Tennessee Association of Museums since 2000. It is the second award in three years it has received for educational programming.

The museum was specifically honored for the educational programming tied to its fall semester civil rights exhibition and festival, For All the World to See.

Fentanyl overdose risk studied by ETSU

Researchers at East Tennessee State University are using group and one-on-one interviews to identify factors influencing fentanyl-related overdose risk in Central Appalachian heroin user communities.

Dr. Bill Brooks, assistant professor in ETSU’s College of Public Health, has received a major grant award from the university’s Research Development Committee to conduct the research.

Brooks is principal investigator and Dr. Faustine Williams, of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities/National Institutes of Health, is co-investigator for the grant.

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