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VOL. 43 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 9, 2019

UT Medical Center lands in rankings for 8th year

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The University of Tennessee Medical Center has earned recognition in the “Best Hospitals” edition of U.S. News & World Report.

It is the eighth year in a row the hospital has been selected.

The publication’s 2019-2020 report ranks the medical center as best regional hospital in the Eastern Tennessee region, best in the Knoxville metro area, and No. 2 (tie) in the state of Tennessee, based on its patient care performance and other key factors.

The adult care specialty of nephrology at the medical center received national recognition, deemed by the publication as a high performing service.

The report also recognizes the medical center as high performing in seven common adult procedures and conditions ratings assessed in the survey:

Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Colon cancer surgery

Heart failure

Hip replacement

Knee replacement

Lung cancer surgery

“Our physicians, team members and volunteers constantly strive to improve on behalf of the patients and community we serve,” says Joe Landsman, president and CEO of The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

“Their hard work, dedication, and commitment to providing outstanding, high-quality care for our patients is why the medical center earned recognition in the Best Hospitals edition of U.S. News, and we’re proud to receive this attention. I know our team doesn’t work this hard for the recognition, they do so because they want to provide the best care possible for our patients and the community.”

AtWork Group shows sales growth in 2nd Q

AtWork Group, a staffing franchise company based in Knoxville, increased its second quarter year-over-year sales growth by 13.61% from 2018 to 2019.

The company expects year-over-year growth to continue and will expand its nationwide footprint as the brand looks to add franchise locations in cities including Lubbock, Des Moines, Little Rock, Odessa, Greenville and El Centro.

“We’ve seen yet another quarter of double-digit growth and we’re excited to remain on track for our target 15% year over year growth for 2019,” says Jason Leverant, President and COO of AtWork Group. “AtWork is serving the needs of our talent and clients, not only from a growth perspective, but from a customer-service perspective. Our internal Net Promoter Scoring hits industry leading levels. This combination of unparalleled service and accelerated growth is the direct result of our continued focus on AtWork’s mission, to be ‘AtWork For You’ every day.”

AtWork facilitated 50,000 hires in 2018 and doubled its gross revenue over the past three previous years, from $164 million in 2015 to $360 million at the end of 2018.

AtWork currently has more than 75 locations across the United States. An initial investment for AtWork ranges from $154,000–$231,000.

Mineral Springs Ave. shuts down next month

Parts of Mineral Springs Avenue will be closed for about a year, beginning in September, as work starts on replacing the 109-year-old bridge above First Creek.

The nearly $1.2 million project in North Knoxville also includes a new sidewalk connection from North Broadway to Walker Boulevard along Mineral Springs Avenue.

Mineral Springs Avenue will be closed from North Broadway to Walker Boulevard. Traffic will be detoured on Walker Boulevard and North Broadway during construction, and signs will also be posted. Access will be maintained to adjacent businesses.

A new 68-foot-long concrete bridge will replace the existing 52-foot-long concrete bridge built in 1910.

“Bridge designers worked to match the appearance of the existing bridge while increasing the opening underneath the roadway to reduce flooding along First Creek,” says Jim Hagerman, City Director of Engineering.

“The bridge design will also include a crash-tested bridge rail approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.”

Approximately 350 linear feet of a new 10-foot-wide greenway connector will also be built on the south side of Mineral Springs Avenue between North Broadway and Walker Boulevard.

TDOT inspects all 97 city-owned bridges on a two-year cycle. Based on TDOT bridge inspection reports, the city selected the Mineral Springs Avenue Bridge for replacement. TDOT last inspected the bridge in 2018.

Contractor work crews are expected to begin demolition of the bridge in September. The project is expected to be completed in September 2020. Contractor for the project is Jones Bros. Contractors, LLC. Engineering designer is Alfred Benesch & Company, Inc.

Publication picks MCB for top 200 listing

Mountain Commerce Bank, a subsidiary of Mountain Commerce Bancorp, has earned a place among the top 200 publicly traded community banks in the U.S. as determined by “American Banker’’ magazine.

The annual ranking is for community banks with less than $2 billion in assets and is based on a three-year average of each bank’s return on average equity. MCB placed at No. 96, recognizing the local community bank as one of just a handful of Tennessee-based banks to make the grade, and securing it the highest spot of any in East Tennessee.

“ROAE is a financial ratio that measures profitability in relation to the average shareholders’ equity,” says William E. (Bill) Edwards III, the bank’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s a measure of management’s ability to generate income from the equity available to it.”

Over the last three years, MCB’s ROAE averaged 10.74%, a reflection of the bank’s financial stability and strength.

Makeover underway at Cumberland intersection

Work is underway on the Cumberland Avenue intersection, a project to replace traffic signals and curb cuts, update street lighting and also create new crosswalks.

The nearly $1.4 million project is funded as part of a contract between the City and the University of Tennessee, with UT funding half the cost. The project is expected to be completed in winter 2020.

“It is always exciting when the University of Tennessee and the City of Knoxville are able to jointly collaborate on a project that benefits the entire community, which improves the aesthetics of Cumberland Avenue and also greatly enhances safety in this area,” says Jeff Maples, UT senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration.

The project will replace traffic signals and curb cuts at the following intersections along Cumberland Avenue: Phillip Fulmer Way, Circle Drive and 13th and 11th streets.

Additionally, new decorative crosswalks and new street lights will be installed along Cumberland Avenue between 16th and 11th streets.

The crosswalks and other improvements in the project will match the aesthetics of the completed Cumberland Avenue Streetscape Project.

This latest project is part of ongoing efforts to better connect UT and downtown Knoxville along the Cumberland Avenue corridor.

City’s interns take on hunger in Knoxville

Knoxville’s Summer in the City interns are using social media to encourage Knoxville residents to donate their time, money and canned goods to local charities that work to remediate hunger in our community.

All Knoxville residents are invited to participate in the campaign. Here’s how:

Choose how to give. You can either donate money or volunteer time to a local food kitchen, food pantry or other hunger-related charity.

Take a photo of yourself volunteering or donating.

Tag the photo with #FeedKnox and #OneLoveDay.

Post the photo online and encourage your friends to share.

For more information about the Feed Knox campaign and the One Love Day event, contact Kent Johnson at 865-215-2109 or

Study: How to

reduce problems in school hallways

Psychology researchers at the University of Tennessee’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences recently developed and tested a game-like intervention to reduce disruptions in school hallways.

By speeding up transition times, hallway disruptions were reduced by up to 74%.

The intervention, which was implemented with three classes of students from grades one through six at a summer school program, rewards classes of students for quickly transitioning from one room or activity to another during breaks between class periods.

“Hallways are daunting spaces for teachers,” says Christopher Skinner, professor of school psychology and co-author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. “Being quick in transitions helps significantly reduce inappropriate behavior.”

On top of a notable reduction in disruptive behavior, class transitions were much quicker. Relative to baseline transition times taken before the game was introduced, each class showed a decrease ranging from 91 to 172 seconds.

Cornerstone, Total

Rehabilitation team up to help addicts

Cornerstone of Recovery and Total Rehabilitation are using a new non-narcotic method to help addicts manage chronic pain.

Centerstone is a Blount County-based drug and alcohol treatment center and Total Rehabilitation is a division of Maryville, Tennessee’s Blount Memorial Hospital that opened an outpatient clinic on the Cornerstone campus.

Dr. Don Reagan and his team of specialists will see Cornerstone clients on Mondays and Wednesdays to provide physical therapy for the management of pain that may have precipitated their substance abuse.

“My experience is in general orthopedics, sports medicine and strength and conditioning, and what I hope to do is to work with patients who are going through this genuinely large personal transformation and are ripe for change,” Reagan says. “I want to help people through relationships, through education, through empowerment, through self-efficacy and through movement. I love helping people.”

The Non-Narcotic Pain Management program, conceived by Clinical Director Dr. Scott Anderson and Director of Residential Programs Anne Young, is designed to both change that mindset and to give patients the tools to manage pain outside of pharmaceuticals.

“Narcotics mask pain, but they don’t relieve it,” says Kristina “Nena” Hall, a certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who, along with therapist Logan Mahan, has designed the retooled Non- Narcotic Pain Management Program at Cornerstone. “It’s been proven that opioids, when you take them, will mask the pain by about 30% . But with diet, exercise and mindfulness, you can get up to 70 or 80% relief, so it’s a huge difference — and it doesn’t come with the side effects of opioid use.

Chamber’s Propel Protégés graduate

Several area businesses graduated recently from the Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Protégé Mentorship Program.

Graduating companies included: A&A Investigation and Consulting Group, Anthony Houde Graphic & Motion Design Studio, Baxter Talent, Carribbean Soul – Authentic Jamaican Food, GateWay Delivery, Harper’s Naturals Skin Care Products, Joyce Development, MBK Wellness, Specialty Concrete Solutions, The Flying Locksmiths and Walking with Joy – Grief and Loss Recovery.

Propel prides itself on its economic inclusion and the diversity of the people and industries in the program. It is designed for small, women-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses, and pairs established community business leaders with a protégé that is relatively new to the marketplace.

Protégés have represented over 30 different industries with revenues between $100,000 to $500,000 and two to six employees.

Smaller fire departments may seek wildfire grants

The state is now providing access to federal grant funding for communities and volunteer fire departments to be better equipped for wildfire.

Communities who have developed or are in the process of developing a Community Wildfire Prevention Plan will be eligible for the Hazard Mitigation Assistance program. The 100% reimbursement grant offers up to $20,000 in funding for communities to implement wildfire prevention practices and community education projects.

The mitigation program provided $279,763 in 2018 to assist in the development of 15 new plans, implement projects to reduce dense, hazardous flammable vegetation, and facilitate best practices for Tennessee Fire Adapted Communities.

Fire departments serving communities with populations of 10,000 or less are eligible for the Volunteer Fire Assistance Program. This is a 50% reimbursement grant for qualifying wildland fire equipment and supplies totaling $1,000 to $6,000. The program supported volunteer fire departments across the state last year with more than 100 grants totaling $259,000.

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