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VOL. 41 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 17, 2017

Big Ears adds ‘depth and breadth’ in 2018

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The Big Ears Festival, called “a music festival with a rare vision,’’ by The New York Times, returns to Knoxville in 2018 for four days, March 22-25, with an emphasis on jazz, Appalachian themes and bluegrass.

The festival will again feature over 100 performances in venues throughout downtown Knoxville from the city’s historic theaters and churches to clubs, galleries, warehouses and listening rooms, along with some surprise locations.

Weekend passes are already on sale at

“I think this year’s festival may have more depth and breadth than ever before,” says Ashley Capps, Big Ears founder and artistic director. “Some powerful themes emerged during the planning process – there’s a deep spiritual thread running through much of the music, along with some brilliant work that is especially potent in our current political climate.

“There continues to be a strong female presence in the festival. Perhaps most importantly is a very dynamic interaction between the global – the internationally acclaimed artists – and the local – our own indigenous culture and sense of place and community. That’s especially exciting to me.”

This year’s Big Ears program offers a special emphasis on jazz, with a virtual who’s who of leading contemporary jazz greats in performances that span the history of the music, from Jason Moran’s Fats Waller tribute, Nels Cline’s jazz noir big band stylings, to Rova’s electric tribute to John Coltrane, Medeski Martin & Wood’s exploratory fusion and Craig Taborn’s riveting contemporary take on the standard jazz quartet. The jazz avant-garde is well represented with legends like Milford Graves, Roscoe Mitchell and Evan Parker, and vital younger players like Peter Evans and Tyshawn Sorey.

Appalachian themes emerge in the work of composer Julia Wolfe, especially her 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning “Anthracite Fields,” as well as in Jenny Scheinman’s poignant exploration of small southern towns in “Kannapolis.”

This year, Big Ears is also expanding the role of bluegrass and traditional Appalachian music with concerts scheduled by banjo wizard Béla Fleck and dobro master Jerry Douglas, along with Abigail Washburn, The Black Twig Pickers and Anna & Elizabeth, among others.

Oak Ridge tests urban planning tool

The City of Oak Ridge and scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are partnering to develop UrbanSense, a comprehensive sensor network and real-time visualization platform that helps cities evaluate trends in urban activity.

As the first city to test the new technology, Oak Ridge is well positioned to share the outcomes and benefits of the project with other cities.

The project, developed by ORNL’s Urban Dynamics Institute, focuses on addressing cities’ real-world challenges through applied urban science.

“Preparing for urban growth and planning for future infrastructure development and resource demands are global problems, but cities need ways to be proactive on a local level,” says UDI director Budhendra Bhaduri.

“Our goal in bringing science to cities is to put the right tools and resources in the hands of city managers and urban planners so that they can assess local impacts and make strategic decisions to get the best return on future investments.”

UDI researchers Teja Kuruganti and Gautam Thakur from ORNL’s Computer Science and Engineering Division are collaborating with the Oak Ridge director of administrative services Bruce Applegate on the design and deployment of UrbanSense.

The prototype designed for Oak Ridge monitors population density, traffic flow and environmental data including air and water quality, with a total of seven sensors to be installed in the city. “The longer they are in place and the more data they collect, the better the city’s sense of its trends will be,” Thakur says.

UrbanSense passively collects anonymous, open-source data from cellular towers to generate real-time estimates of population density in cities. Insights on how people interact with urban infrastructure helps cities like Oak Ridge assess their needs and plan effectively for future development.

“We want to give cities like Oak Ridge a better sense of their population distribution and dynamics,” Kuruganti adds. “Our project is about bringing technology to cities. We are using sensors to generate observations and insights to help cities measure their growth and success.”

Knoxville Parks & Recreation honored

Knoxville was recently honored with nine state-level parks and recreation awards by the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association.

The awards acknowledged communities, organizations and individuals for outstanding achievements and projects in the last year.

“The TRPA awards highlight the creativity and popularity of Knoxville’s recreation programs,” Mayor Madeline Rogero says. “I’m very proud of our Parks and Recreation team, our community partners, and these collaborative projects that help Knoxville flourish.”

The award winners were:

Suttree Landing Park, opened in November 2016, received the Four Star New Facility award in the budget category over $5 million. The 8-acre South Knoxville riverfront park was Knoxville’s first new park in 12 years.

The Aslan Foundation, a charitable foundation of Knoxville, received the Four Star Benefactor Award. In recent years, the Aslan Foundation has made significant contributions that led to securing the River Bluff property, a major piece of the Urban Wilderness, and the Fort Dickerson Gateway opened earlier this year.

Brian Hann, a Knoxville advocate and community leader for trails and the Urban Wilderness, was awarded the Four Star Individual Service Award for his second time. He received the 2017 honor for his leadership of the Knoxville Greenways Commission, serving as Chairman.

Several City of Knoxville staff members were also recognized, including Joe Walsh, recently retired Knoxville Parks and Recreation director, who was honored with TRPA’s Lifetime Member Award.

Aaron Browning, Parks and Recreation Department’s deputy director, received the Distinguished Young Professional Award.

Daniel Alexander, a recreation center leader for Knoxville, received the Maynard Glenn Award for his programming at Inskip Recreation Center.

Inskip Recreation Center received the Donald H. Stanton Award, which is presented by TRPA’s Ethnic Minority Section. In recent years, Inskip Recreation Center has provided inclusive programming, such as Power Soccer, which allows people to play the sport in wheelchairs, and adult-sized foosball, which encourages the use of therapeutic motor skills.

Knoxville received a Four Star Marketing Award in the print category for its 2016 Parks and Recreation Guide.

A Knoxville Parks and Recreation intern was also recognized. Leigh Belmont, a current student at the University of Tennessee, was given a $1,000 scholarship.

Chicago health system picks PerfectServe

AMITA Health, an integrated health system in the Chicago area, has chosen Knoxville-based PerfectServe as its enterprise clinical communication and collaboration system.

The company will help one of the largest healthcare networks in Illinois establish a common platform for standardizing care team coordination and collaboration growth initiatives.

“Partnering with PerfectServe represents yet another successful opportunity and milestone to clinically integrate our expanding health system,” says Julieann Russo, director of information systems, Continuum of Care and Physician Services at AMITA Health. “PerfectServe’s platform creates a cohesive way to establish closer peer-to-peer bidirectional text and voice communication between nurses, physicians and other medical support staff, which speeds time to treatment and interventions for optimal care delivery. Our priority is to remove communication variability that puts our patients at risk and our care team members in noncompliance with HIPAA and The Joint Commission.”

AMITA Health will implement PerfectServe at four Adventist hospitals in 2018. PerfectServe functionality will be implemented in late 2018, putting the entire organization on the complete solution.

PerfectServe’s clinical communication capabilities will enable AMITA Health’s care team members to speed time to treatment, eliminating delays and variability in patient care.

“We are honored to support AMITA Health’s faith-based mission of providing quality, compassionate healthcare to its local communities,” says Terry Edwards, CEO and president of PerfectServe. “Our care team communication and collaboration system upholds the health network’s growth trajectory to achieve true clinical integration – a continuous process of enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of care coordination across Chicagoland.”

Thermocopy lauded by Ricoh Corporation

Knoxville-based Thermocopy, a business technology company, has been honored by the Ricoh Corporation with 13 of its service technicians earning 2017 “Prestige’’ certification.

Thermocopy offers multi-functional digital office equipment, information flow analyses, and software solutions to help businesses better manage their documents and information workflow.

The Prestige designation demonstrates the technicians’ knowledge and skill that makes them the “Best of the Best” as part of Ricoh’s Service Excellence Program.

Over 1,600 technicians started the testing process, and 115 technicians achieved the certification. Thirteen were Thermocopy team members. Also, two Thermocopy teams were awarded the highest designation, “Prestige Elite,” out of 13 total in the United States.

“It is great that our service team received 11 percent of the total certifications awarded. This level of expertise is critical to the success of our organization and more importantly the success of our customers,’’ says Chris Watson, director of service/logistics for Thermocopy.

Kingsport Books purchased by Blackford

Blackford Capital, a private equity firm, has acquired Kingsport Book, a high-end book finishing and fulfillment company in Church Hill, in East Tennessee.

Kingsport Book is the second company in the book printing industry to be acquired by Printing Consolidation Company – a Blackford Capital portfolio company – which also owns Dickinson.

In its 120,000-square-foot facility, Kingsport Book has developed an equipment platform that can flexibly service deluxe, trade and soft cover books at quantities ranging from one to a million.

“The addition of Kingsport Book is in direct response to the needs of our customers,’’ says Aaron Day, CEO of Printing Consolidation Company and Dickinson.

Fred Cooper, CEO of Kingsport Book, and CFO Rick Jennings will stay on to lead operations at Kingsport Book.

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