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VOL. 43 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 8, 2019

Nominations open for Governor’s Arts Awards

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The Tennessee Arts Commission is accepting nominations through May 31 for the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards.

Established in 1971, these accolades are Tennessee’s highest honor in the arts, recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to cultural life.

There are three award categories:

• Folklife Heritage Award: Presented to folk artists or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to Tennessee’s traditional arts. The award honors significant achievements within art forms that are rooted in the traditional or ethnic cultures of Tennessee.

• Arts Leadership Award: Presented to individuals or organizations who have demonstrated significant contributions, which have impacted or advanced the value of the arts in Tennessee. Examples of recipients include arts organizations, businesses, educators, patrons, arts administrators, corporations and volunteers.

• Distinguished Artist Award: Presented to Tennessee artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline whose work has a significant and lasting impact at the state or national level.

Nomination information

Legal Aid, Belmont offering free legal help

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm, has announced a partnership with Belmont University to offer free legal help clinics twice monthly at the Belmont Ministry Center, 2005 12th Avenue South, beginning March 9.

The McHugh Legal Help Clinic at Belmont will take place on the second Saturday of each month, 8:30-noon. The Legal Aid Clinic at Belmont will be the fourth Thursday evening of each month through October, 4:30-7 p.m.

Volunteer lawyers from the Tennessee Attorney General’s office will staff both clinics, assisted on Saturdays by lawyers in private practice across Davidson County. The Belmont Legal Help Clinic will be staffed each month by a different law firm, including Baker Donelson, Bass, Berry & Sims, Butler Snow and Waller. The lawyers will offer free legal advice on any civil legal issue, including custody, landlord/tenant, employment, debt collection, bankruptcy, auto accident or neighbor disputes.

Legal Aid Society offers other regularly scheduled legal help clinics in Anderson, Davidson, Maury, Sumner and Williamson counties. The Belmont clinics replace two clinics offered from 2003 to 2017 at Legal Aid Society’s former office in downtown Nashville. These clinics, which were suspended when Legal Aid Society moved its offices in May 2018, helped more than 700 people annually.

Nashville entrepreneurs bullish on local economy

Nashville entrepreneurs are confident in the local economy in 2019, but less-so in the national economy.

A recent survey of EO Nashville members showed they expect to hire more employees, generate more revenue and realize higher profit margins in 2019 than in 2018.

Overall, half of the respondents believe that the economic environment in Middle Tennessee will be better this year than it was last year. Slightly fewer – 47 percent – think it will stay the same as 2018, while 3 percent stated it will get worse.

One-quarter of members think the national economy will be better this year than last, while 42 percent say it will stay about the same. About one-third think it will get worse, the poll found.

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is reserved for owners of businesses worldwide that generate at least $1 million per year. In EO Nashville, the average revenue of a member company is $12 million, and the average number of employees is 60. The chapter’s 226 member companies generate $2.3 billion in sales annually and employ 11,500.

Iroquois Steeplechase taps honorary co-chairs

The Iroquois Steeplechase continued its tradition of recognizing Nashvillians who embody the annual event’s spirit of tradition and service, naming Jennifer Najjar, M.D., and Sara Jo and Don Gill as this year’s honorary co-chairs.

The Nashville sporting, social and philanthropic event, sponsored by Bank of America and benefiting Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, marks its 78th year May 11.

Najjar is associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, with a specialty in pediatric and adolescent endocrinology and diabetology. She has served Children’s Hospital patients for nearly four decades.

For Sara Jo Gill, a Volunteer State Horseman’s Foundation trustee, and Don Gill, the Iroquois Steeplechase is family history. Sara Jo has never missed a Steeplechase since the inaugural event, and her family has led 48 of the event’s 78 years. Her grandfather was the first chairman of the Steeplechase race committee, and her father was the second.

Don Gill has overseen the Steeplechase barns for 35 years, organizing and calming the trainers, riders and horses and getting everyone to the track on time. The Gills ride and train horses on their farm, Bright Hour, named for the horse Sara Jo’s father rode in the first Steeplechase.

OMNIA Partners announces rebranding

Franklin-based OMNIA Partners is rebranding National IPA and U.S. Communities as OMNIA, Public Sector, a cooperative purchasing company for state and local governments and for local and higher education.

The integration of the two subsidiaries under one name allows OMNIA Partners to shape the future of purchasing with unparalleled scale, experience and expertise.

All subsidiaries operating together under one name is the culmination of a multiyear strategy started in 2016 when the founders of National IPA successfully completed numerous acquisitions and formed OMNIA Partners in 2017 as the parent.

Denim Days festival returns to Nashville

Nashville has been selected to host Denim Days, a two-day festival for denim professionals, designers and brands to reach consumers directly.

The Nashville Denim Days, which debuted in 2018, will be held Oct. 5-7. New York and Amsterdam also will host events in 2019.

The festival returns to Marathon Music Works and will offer Nashville music, food and fashion.

Attendees will find a mix of denim and independent brands, vintage vendors and artisans as well as musical performances by local Nashville musicians and food from a selection of local eateries.

Bryla J Couture launches new women’s line

Bryla J Couture Clothiers, based in Brentwood, is launching a clothing line for modern women.

Bryla J Couture is a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certified woman-owned business, offering a collection of suits, dresses and coats.

Founder Sharon W. Reynolds says each piece is made with quality materials such as wool, linen and cashmere that effortlessly transition from the boardroom to date night.

The Bryla J Winter 2018-2019 spring collection features 25 pieces available in standard women’s sizes 4-16 and priced at $99 - $500.

Bryla J offers a custom fit option based on customers’ measurements taken by a professional tailor and has partnered with Stitch It in Green Hills for Nashville-based customers.

Storage company expands to Smyrna

Simply Self Storage has opened a new location in Smyrna with a newly constructed class A storage facility is at 300 Wolverine Trail. The facility offers a mix of climate-controlled and interior storage units, as well as exterior, drive-up storage units.

Portland lands auto supplier plant

Japanese-based Togo North America Inc. will invest $11.4 million to establish a production facility in Portland.

The auto supplier plans to create 58 jobs over the next five years at the Robertson County facility.

Togo North America, a subsidiary of Togo Seisakusyo Corporation, produces automotive parts, including hose clamps, return springs and flat springs.

Togo North America plans to produce hose clamps at its Portland facility, located in the Tennessee-Kentucky Business Park.

The auto supplier will occupy a 107,000-square-foot building at 9534 Eubanks Road.

The company expects to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Springfield gets clean water loan

The state is giving Springfield a low-interest loan for clean water and drinking water infrastructure improvements.

Tennessee’s Revolving Fund Loan Program maintains priority ranking lists for both the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Springfield will receive a loan increase in the amount of $19 million for collection system replacement to address sanitary sewer overflows (including installation of approximately 18,000 linear feet of sewer lines).

In addition, there will be inflow and infiltration correction of approximately 3,900 linear feet of sewer lines with construction of a 4 MG wastewater storage tank at Carr Creek and a 5 MG wastewater storage tank at Sulphur Creek.

The project is funded from the State Revolving Fund with a 20-year repayment period at an interest rate of 1.30 percent and construction of eligible water and wastewater projects.

MTSU reports foreign investments in state

Middle Tennessee State University reports foreign firms invested more than $1.5 billion in Tennessee last year.

It is the fourth time in five years foreign investment reached or exceeded that mark, according to the latest “Global Commerce” report from Middle Tennessee State University’s Business and Economic Research Center.

“Tennessee has been one of the most successful states in attracting foreign investment in recent years, and this trend continued in 2018,” says report author Steven Livingston, BERC associate director and a professor of political science and international relations at MTSU.

With this investment, foreign-owned firms created just over 3,000 new jobs, the report notes.

The largest single investment was Volkswagen’s initiation of a new SUV line at its Chattanooga assembly plant. Japan, however, continued to be the source of the lion’s share of investment coming in from abroad, Livingston says. Five Japanese companies invested over $600 million in this state last year.

Also, the total announced investment was smaller than that of 2017. However, the 2017 amount was the highest in a decade.

A stronger dollar and, “for all practical purposes, the end of Chinese investment” were two significant forces behind the $600 million decline year over year.

It appears that Tennessee outperformed most of the rest of the country in attracting business investment from overseas.

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