Public school teachers in Knoxville receive a portion of SONIC’s $1.3 million donation

Public school teachers in Knoxville receive a portion of SONIC’s $1.3 million donation for learning supplies

(OKLAHOMA CITY) Dec. 18, 2020 – For the twelfth year in a row and during an especially urgent time of need, SONIC® Drive-In donated an all-time high of $1.3 million to fund public school teacher requests across the country as part of its annual Limeades for Learning Fall Voting Campaign. In partnership with nonprofit teacher crowdfunding platform DonorsChoose and with the help of SONIC fans, three teachers in Knoxville, Tennessee were among the community heroes up-voted to receive a combined $3,512 for essential materials to create an engaging learning environment in both physical and virtual classrooms.

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“Celebrating public school teachers through our Fall Voting Campaign feels special every year, but especially this year, as our incredible public school teachers are going the extra mile to keep their students inspired, regardless of where their classroom may be,” said Christi Woodworth, vice president for public relations for SONIC. “From cleaning supplies to humidifiers and technology needs, we were able to fulfill thousands of teachers’ wish lists for necessary teaching materials to keep their students safe and learning.”

From Monday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 25, SONIC fans voted for teacher requests that moved them at LimeadesforLearning.com, and the requests with the most votes nationwide received funding, totaling $1.3 million at the close of the campaign.

In Knoxville, the following exceptional teachers at two schools earned funding for their much-needed learning materials as part of the annual Fall Voting Campaign:

  • Holly Matthews at Farragut High School for the project “New & Diverse Reads”
  • Heather Michele Mcamis at Farragut Primary School for the project “Give Me Space”
  • Melinda Webster at Farragut Primary School for the project “Digital Learning Created by Teachers for Teachers”
  • Melinda Webster at Farragut Primary School for the project “Reading and Writing Buddy”
  • Melinda Webster at Farragut Primary School for the project “Restock Our Creative Learning Transformations and Science Lab”
  • Melinda Webster at Farragut Primary School for the project “Science, Transformations and Sound”

To view the full list of public school teacher projects funded through Limeades for Learning, including those in Knoxville, visit LimeadesforLearning.com.

Since 2009, SONIC has donated $17.9 million, supported more than 26,500 classrooms, and provided necessary learning materials and teaching resources requested by teachers to impact more than 5.6 million students in partnership with DonorsChoose.

About Sonic® Drive-In

Sonic, founded in 1953, is the largest drive-in restaurant brand in the United States with more than 3,500 restaurants in 46 states. Served by Sonic’s iconic Carhops, the restaurant’s expansive, award-winning menu offers unique, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and drink options for the whole family. Sonic is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants. For more information, visit SonicDriveIn.com and InspiredBrands.com.

About DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose is the leading platform for giving to public schools. Teachers across America use the site to create projects requesting resources their students need, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. Since its founding by a Bronx teacher in 2000, 4.5 million people and partners have given $1 billion to 1.7 million teacher requests. Unique among education funding platforms, the DonorsChoose team vets each project request and ships resources directly to the school, ensuring full transparency. Every donor receives photos of their project in action, thank-yous from the classroom, and a cost report showing how every dollar was spent. DonorsChoose was the first charity to make the top 10 on Fast Company’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in the World. Visit www.donorschoose.org to learn more.

McNabb Center celebrates groundbreaking on Mineral Springs Manor

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The McNabb Center celebrated the groundbreaking of Mineral Springs Manor today. Mineral Springs Manor is a 50-unit rental housing complex, providing much-needed low-income housing to senior citizens in the Knoxville area.

This unique housing program will offer independent living to seniors experiencing issues with the aging process. It can offer supportive services that help seniors retain their independence and maintain their safety.



a group of people that are standing in the dirt: The McNabb Center celebrated the groundbreaking of Mineral Springs Manor today. Mineral Springs Manor is a 50-unit rental housing complex, providing much-needed low-income housing to senior citizens in the Knoxville area. December 2020


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The McNabb Center celebrated the groundbreaking of Mineral Springs Manor today. Mineral Springs Manor is a 50-unit rental housing complex, providing much-needed low-income housing to senior citizens in the Knoxville area. December 2020

This nearly $8 million project is possible because of the financial support of Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, the Helen Ross McNabb Foundation, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Federal Home Loan Bank-Cincinnati, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and numerous private donors.

“Knoxville is in need of housing options for low-income senior citizens,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center president and CEO. “We are excited to begin construction on this project and work to address that need in our community.”

The McNabb Center is the region’s leading nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, social and victim services. By focusing on an individual’s “Well Mind, Well Being,” we provide a quality and compassionate approach to care from infancy through adulthood. Since 1948, the Center has proudly served individuals with the most needs and fewest resources. Today, the McNabb Center delivers support to more than 30,000 people throughout East Tennessee each year. For more information, visit www.mcnabbcenter.org or call 1-800-255-9711.

Novatech, Inc. acquires United Laser, adding expanded managed print service options for customers nationwide

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Novatech, a nationwide Managed Office provider, and core portfolio company of Trivest Partners, a leading founder-friendly private investment firm, has announced the acquisition of United Laser, a nationwide Managed Print Services Provider.

The acquisition is redefining the Managed Print Services market. United Laser’s innovative approach to Managed Print Services is now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of Novatech’s Managed Office portfolio, which unites IT, Print, Cloud and Security for business clients nationwide. Together, Novatech and United Laser will accelerate innovation and simplicity around business technology for today’s office.

“As Novatech continues to provide nationwide support, we’re excited to add United Laser as a Division within Novatech,” said Dan Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, Novatech. “United Laser’s Managed Print model is extremely innovative and lends itself nicely to the market shift to higher A4 print utilization. United Laser’s model will provide our customers additional options outside of the industry’s traditional pay-per-click standard for Managed Print Services.”

“United Laser has always been committed to simplicity and customer satisfaction for every client,” said Chris Peebles, President, United Laser. “Our team is excited about joining forces with Novatech, and the strength our combined portfolios will bring clients throughout the United States.”

United Laser will continue to be led by Chris Peebles and its current management team. Peebles is joining Novatech’s executive leadership team and will report to Dan Cooper directly. Novatech will maintain United Laser’s headquarters in Florence, South Carolina, its facilities, brand and practices. United Laser will operate as a division within Novatech and will be reported as part of Novatech’s overall Managed Print Services segment.

About Novatech –

Founded in 1998, Novatech, Inc. is a nationwide business technology provider. The company eliminates the need for multiple managed service providers, hardware dealers and software integrators. Offering a full Managed Office portfolio, Novatech simplifies and streamlines the technology experience for today’s business. Learn more at: www.novatech.net  

About Trivest –

Trivest Partners LP is a private investment firm that focuses exclusively on the support and growth of founder-led and family-owned businesses in the United States and Canada in both control and non-control transactions. Since its founding in 1981, Trivest has completed more than 350 transactions, totaling approximately $7 billion in value. Learn more at: www.trivest.com

General Shale announces acquisition of Meridian Brick to become leading supplier of masonry solutions in North America

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — General Shale, a leading U.S. producer of building material solutions, announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Meridian Brick, the nation’s largest manufacturer of masonry solutions. With the announcement, General Shale will become the leading supplier of innovative and sustainable masonry solutions in North America.

The acquisition is a continuation of General Shale’s value-driven growth strategy and combines the company’s commercial platform and system solutions with the innovative product portfolio and production and distribution infrastructure of Meridian Brick.

In addition, the acquisition broadens General Shale’s production and sales footprint throughout North America, particularly in Texas, the Southeastern U.S., and in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, which represent the largest brick-consuming areas in Canada.  

“This announcement underscores General Shale’s commitment to providing customers with a robust offering of the most exceptional masonry products and service in the industry,” says Charles Smith, president and CEO of Johnson City, Tennessee-based General Shale. “Meridian Brick has a solid reputation for providing quality products, building solutions and customer service. These key attributes, combined with General Shale’s unparalleled track record for more than 90 years, will yield exciting opportunities for our newly expanded organization. We are pleased to welcome Meridian Brick employees to the General Shale family.”

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Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Meridian Brick operates 20 manufacturing plants and 27 distribution centers throughout North America with more than 1,000 employees. Meridian Brick’s product portfolio features innovative systems for the building envelope for residential and commercial applications, including renovations. The company’s offerings encompass face brick, thin brick, stone, mortar, stucco, block and specialty items.

Most notably, Meridian Brick maintains six production locations and five distribution centers in Texas, which is responsible for 25% of all U.S. brick consumption, making it the largest brick-consuming state in the country.

The Meridian Brick additions are a strategic complement to General Shale, the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, a leading international provider of building material and infrastructure solutions. Prior to the acquisition, General Shale was one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers, featuring 11 production facilities in 10 states and provinces, including a PVC pipe manufacturing operation in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. General Shale also has a network of 21 sales locations and more than 200 affiliated distributors across North America.

“Wienerberger is committed to strengthening its position as an internationally diversified building materials group, and this acquisition significantly expands the General Shale product portfolio and footprint,” Smith adds. “As we grow, we will continue to invest in research and development to drive sustainable, innovative masonry solutions for our valued customers.”

For more information about General Shale and its family of products, visit www.generalshale.com.

ABOUT GENERAL SHALE

Founded in 1928, General Shale offers an endless array of sizes, colors and textures in a wide variety of masonry materials to complete any residential, commercial or specialty architectural project. These materials include brick, thin masonry, stone, outdoor living products, concrete block and various building materials, which include Arriscraft Stone and Jet Stream pipes division products. 

In 1999, the company joined Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, the world’s largest brick manufacturer. With a life cycle of more than 100 years, the sustainability of brick is General Shale’s commitment to responsible stewardship.

General Shale is headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.generalshale.com.

Dollywood presents donation to Sevier County Food Ministries

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Thursday, December 17, 2020) — Dollywood officials today presented Sevier County Food Ministries with a check for $32,427.15, the proceeds from the Smoky Mountain theme park’s most recent Sevier County Days held Nov. 8-20. 

Sevier County Days provides county residents—or anyone who works in the county—the opportunity to help their neighbors while also enjoying the festive environment of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas for a $5 donation to Sevier County Food Ministries. All proceeds from the visits go to the food ministry, helping the non-profit purchase more food items during the lead-in to what is one of the busiest times of the year.

“We know Sevier County Food Ministries provides a vital service to our community, especially during the winter months,” said Carol Agee, Dollywood Partnership Marketing/Community Relations Senior Manager. “Jim Davis and his staff at Sevier County Food Ministries are ready for the Christmas season, but we know they see a drop in giving and an increase in need during the early months of the year. They do a phenomenal job, and we are honored to come alongside them to help our community.”

Dollywood first started giving to Sevier County Food Ministries in 1998. Since that time, total contributions to the program are more than $1.3 million.

In addition to monetary support, Sevier County Food Ministries always accepts passionate volunteers ready to serve others through their efforts. For more information about how to volunteer, please visit seviercountyfoodministries.org.

Ancient Lore Village announces March 2021 grand opening

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – December 15, 2020 – Ancient Lore Village, the themed event center and resort developed by Knoxville businessman Tom Boyd, announced it will open in March 2021. The nearly 70-acre property in South Knoxville will open with unique luxury accommodations, miles of hiking trails, meeting and conference facilities, and a world-class culinary team.

Ancient Lore Village will specialize in lavish experiences for cultivated travelers, business events and meetings, weddings, and special events.

Priority Ambulance now accepting applications for accelerated EMT class in January 2021

Priority Ambulance is offering the chance to become an EMT in 16 weeks at no cost to the student. Priority Ambulance will pay for the cost of tuition, certification fees and class materials. To further remove financial barriers to a career in EMS, Priority Ambulance will also provide full benefits package as a full-time employee during classroom hours throughout the course.

Priority Ambulance is offering this course in partnership with Roane State Community College’s continuing education program. Instruction is provided by Priority Ambulance EMS educators.

“In 2020, the country has truly seen the need for EMS and other health care, and we believe that many will be inspired to join the industry,” said Priority Ambulance Professional Development and Accreditation Manager Robyn Asher. “Through this course, we hope to remove all barriers for interested individuals to enter the EMS field. Priority Ambulance has positions immediately available for these students, and this course is the first steppingstone towards continuing to develop their skills in EMS or entering other areas of the healthcare and public safety field.”

Priority Ambulance will accept an initial 12 students into its EMT class in January; however, the company will be operating this course multiple times in 2021. Applicants not accepted into this program will have the opportunity to put their application forward for a second identical class that will begin later in the year.

Those accepted into the free course will be fully trained and onboarded to begin working on a Priority ambulance in approximately 16 weeks upon passing the national registry exam. During the sixteen-week course, the students will also complete shifts as ambulance operators gaining valuable experience in the field. The course is offered with a two-year employment commitment.

To apply, interested individuals should fill out an application at www.PriorityAmbulanceTN.com/BasicEMTClass2021. The second step is to attend a mandatory open interview session and assessment. Two options are being offered for these sessions:

  • Sunday, January 3 at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m, Priority Ambulance of Tennessee, 910 Callahan Drive, Suite 101, Knoxville, TN 37912
  • Monday, January 4 at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m, Priority Ambulance of Tennessee, 910 Callahan Drive, Suite 101, Knoxville, TN 37912
  • Tuesday, January 5 at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m., Priority Ambulance of Tennessee, 910 Callahan Drive, Suite 101, Knoxville, TN 37912

Applicants should allot approximately two to three hours in order to complete the interviews and assessments. Social distancing protocols will be followed and face coverings will be required.

“Upon passing their exam, our students are immediately able to work on an ambulance making up to $30,000 a year job,” said Asher. “With a company-sponsored paramedic class, they can advance their career to make up to $45,000 a year in a short time. This is a great opportunity.”

The coursework for the class will begin on January 18 and students will graduate from the course to take their national registry exams in May.

Priority Ambulance held two accelerated EMT-Basic classes in 2020 with nearly 25 students taking the course and beginning their career in EMS.

Priority Ambulance provides nonemergency medical transportation serving medical facility partners in Knox and Blount counties and is the 9-1-1 ambulance partner to Loudon County. Priority Ambulance has served East Tennessee since 2014 and is the only national ambulance company headquartered in Tennessee.

RVC Outdoor Destinations opening Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort in early 2021

MEMPHIS, Tenn., December 15, 2020 — RVC Outdoor Destinations, the leading provider and most active developer of high-quality outdoor resorts in the United States, will open the doors to its newest resort, Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort, in early 2021. The 37 acre property in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, just off the Pigeon Forge Parkway near the Apple Barn & Cider Mill at 455 Lonesome Valley Road, features a mile of riverfront along the Little Pigeon River with a view of Mount LeConte. 

Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort is now booking for the Spring and will open its first phase with 149 RV sites along with high-end permanent tents and primitive riverside camping sites. All RV sites include level concrete pads, fire rings and grills, picnic tables, full hook-ups with 30/50 amp service and Wi-Fi. The property will embrace its location with plenty of options for riverside fishing as well as an illuminated riverwalk and tubing and kayak rentals. The Lodge will house onsite concierge services, a retail store, a conference room, gym and laundry facilities. On-property offerings also include a pool & hot tub, a pickleball court, playground, picnic pavilion, a dog park and golf cart rentals. As part of their BEECause initiative, every RVC Outdoor Destination includes onsite hives to educate guests about the importance of bees to our ecosystem. 

“With its ideal and scenic location in our great home state of Tennessee, Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort promises to be another marquee property for the brand with its extraordinary Riverwalk along with the best river access in the market,” said RVC Outdoor Destinations President Lloyd Lauland. 

“We are excited to open the newest, highest quality outdoor resort in one of the most exciting outdoor hospitality markets in the United States. With a new resort in the works in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and expansion underway at our Live Oak Landing property, RVC Outdoor Destinations remains the industry’s premier developer of high quality RV and camping resorts in the United States,” said RVC Outdoor Destinations CEO Andy Cates.

RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns and operates vacation properties set within naturally beautiful environments and in close proximity to local attractions and activities. With resorts spanning nine states, the company is focused on expansion throughout the United States. Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort marks the ninth destination in RVC’s portfolio. 

The safety of guests and team members is a top priority and CDC-recommended protocols are in place at every RVC Outdoor Destination in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow Pigeon Forge Landing RV Resort on Facebook and Instagram for construction updates and news on the property. 

About RVC Outdoor Destinations

RVC Outdoor Destinations develops, owns and operates a portfolio of high-quality outdoor vacation properties located within some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings and offering upscale services and amenities. Memphis, Tenn.-based RVC is redefining the traditional camping experience with its original Outdoor Destination concept that provides guests with a customizable outdoor vacation through a variety of affordable lodging options, including RV sites, yurts, cabins and cottages, all with enhanced guest amenities and recreational activities. For more information, please visit www.rvcoutdoors.com or follow RVC Outdoor Destinations on Facebook and Instagram.

20-Unit apartment building in Knoxville sells for $1,125,000

KNOXVILLE, TN, December 11, 2020 – Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate brokerage firm specializing in investment sales, financing, research and advisory services, announced the sale of Scheel Apartments, a 20-unit apartment property located in Knoxville, Tennessee, according to Joseph W. McKibben, regional manager of the firm’s Nashville office. The asset sold for $1,125,000.



a large brick building: Marcus & Millichap announced the sale of Scheel Apartments, a 20-unit apartment property located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The asset sold for $1,125,000. December 2020.


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Marcus & Millichap announced the sale of Scheel Apartments, a 20-unit apartment property located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The asset sold for $1,125,000. December 2020.

Ben Crawford and David Stollenwerk, multifamily investment specialists in Marcus & Millichap’s Nashville office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a private investor. Crawford and Stollenwerk also procured the buyer, a limited liability company.  

Scheel Apartments is located at 4848 Scheel Rd in Knoxville, Tennessee. Constructed in 1972 and renovated in 2020, the property sits on 0.90 acres of land, and benefits from close proximity to downtown Knoxville and the University of Tennessee.

Pinnacle Financial Partners is the No. 1 SBA Lender in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, TN, Dec. 14, 2020 – Pinnacle Financial Partners is the No. 1 SBA lender in Tennessee for 2020, having issued $29.67 million in SBA loans during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2020. According to data released by the Small Business Administration, Pinnacle made 30 SBA loans in the state with an average amount of $989,007 during that period, exclusive of Paycheck Protection Program loans. 

“Pinnacle aims to be a top tier business bank in our home communities,” said David Hoppenworth, Pinnacle’s SBA lending director. “SBA lending is an important part of that and a perfect example of why many of us got into banking to begin with. They give us an opportunity to help businesses grow, including some who may be outside the bounds of traditional lending. Government guaranteed lending like SBA gives us the chance to help when others can’t.”  

Pinnacle was also the No. 1 SBA lender in Tennessee, issuing 30 loans worth a total of $29.67 million. In total, the firm made 105 SBA loans worth a total of $95.43 million, exclusive of Paycheck Protection Program loans. 

“In 2020, many people became familiar with the SBA through the PPP,” Hoppenworth said. “Though it took most of the focus this year, normal SBA lending was very popular in 2020 as an option for qualified businesses that needed help reaching their next milestone. During this down time in the economy, many used SBA loans to buy a new business or help a partner exit their company. Others have taken advantage of the current real estate market by buying the buildings they operate in. It’s versatile enough to almost any type of business with a variety of needs.” 

Pinnacle is an SBA preferred lender, one of only a handful in the country, which means the bank is able to process, review and approve SBA loan applications largely independent of the government. That designation allows for a streamlined process with a team focused exclusively on SBA loans. 

Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin MSA, according to 2020 deposit data from the FDIC. Pinnacle earned a spot on the 2020 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its fourth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For eight years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $10 billion in assets. 

Pinnacle owns a 49 percent interest in Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), which provides innovative, hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare practitioners and other licensed professionals. Great Place to Work and FORTUNE ranked BHG No. 1 on its 2020 list of Best Workplaces in New York State in the small/medium business category. 

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $33.8 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, 2020. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 12 primarily urban markets in Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia and Atlanta.  Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at www.pnfp.com. 

Dollywood officials present Sevier County Food Ministries with proceeds from Sevier County Days

Dollywood officials will provide Sevier County Food Ministry with a check from the park’s Sevier County Days held during Smoky Mountain Christmas. Dollywood’s total contribution from the history of the Sevier County Days program to the food ministry is more than $1.3 million.

A presentation ceremony will be held Thursday, December 17 at 10:30am at Sevier County Food Ministry.

Clayton donates new home to Family Promise of Blount County, expanding its transitional housing program

BLOUNT COUNTY, TN – December 11, 2020— National homebuilder Clayton, in partnership with Family Promise® National, donated to Family Promise of Blount County a new off-site Clayton Built® home to be used as transitional housing for area families experiencing homelessness. This new home expands the affiliate’s transitional housing program and its services in the community for families seeking housing stability. With the addition of this home, the program now has six transitional housing units and has served 9 families so far in 2020 and 40 families since the program began.

Nationally, Family Promise is a non-profit organization that works to provide prevention, shelter, and stabilization services to families who are at-risk of or currently are experiencing homelessness. The transitional home will be operated by Family Promise of Blount County, the local Family Promise affiliate, and will serve families experiencing homelessness who participate in its program. Transitional housing is a supportive and temporary residence that is meant to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing by offering structure, case management, financial literacy courses, education and training.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home has several appliances and features that come standard in every Clayton Built® home, such as an ecobee smart thermostat, SmartComfort® by Carrier furnace, Duracraft® cabinets and more. It is also equipped with Clayton’s optional Energy Smart™ home upgrade package, which includes energy efficient appliances, increased insulation and energy efficient windows to help with future savings.

“We are incredibly grateful for this new home that gives us the opportunity to expand our Transitional Housing program,” said Caroline Lemar, Executive Director of Family Promise of Blount County. “This home will help Family Promise of Blount County continue its mission of creating a community where every child has a home.”

“At Clayton we are dedicated to opening doors to a better life through attainable homeownership across the country, especially where we are headquartered,” said Susan Brown, Director of Philanthropy for Clayton. “Providing a home that will expand Family Promise of Blount County’s transitional housing program will help many families in our community for years to come.”

Off-site built housing is a smart solution to housing affordability in the United States. The Clayton Built® home, constructed by Clayton and finished by Clayton Homes of Alcoa is one example of the beautiful off-site built homes available for individuals and families seeking quality homeownership.

The home donation is part of a larger national partnership between Clayton and Family Promise, which works toward ending and preventing family homelessness. This is the fourth of five Clayton home donations through the A Future Begins at Home program this year and the third home donation to serve as transitional housing. Through the home donation program and A Future Begins at Home, Clayton and Family Promise provide educational outreach and resource development, comprehensive case management, support services, and non-traditional, affordable housing solutions for graduate families, such as transitional off-site built housing.

“Since we launched the A Future Begins at Home program, our partnership with Clayton has helped countless families achieve housing independence through home donations and homelessness prevention efforts,” said Claas Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer of Family Promise National. “We are thankful for Clayton’s ongoing commitment to the fight against family homelessness, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on America’s low-income families.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, State Leaders and Comcast address telehealth and digital equity for older adults

TENNESSEE – December 10, 2020 – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit today to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic.  

As millions of people practice social distancing and shelter in place, they have turned to the internet to find news about the virus, continue school online, work remotely, access healthcare information, and more. The abrupt transition has brought more attention to the state’s digital divide, which Comcast has been focused on closing for nearly a decade through its Internet Essentials low-cost broadband adoption program.



a group of people sitting at a table using a laptop: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. December 2020


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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. December 2020

The virtual summit included a tele-health showcase with Meharry Medical Group, Cohen Veterans’ Services, and Interfaith Dentistry, a policy interview with State Representative Robin Smith as well as discussions with community partners including the Knoxville-Knox County Office on Aging, Nashville Public Library, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, and Alpha Omega Veterans.

Through a series of donations, giveaways, technology utilization, and testimonials, Comcast, Governor  Lee, and several state partners highlighted the growing need for seniors to have a sense of inclusion – with their caregivers, their families and the individuals who contribute to their wellbeing.

“Telehealth and telemedicine efforts across our state are opening new avenues to stay healthy, offer greater access to healthcare and mitigate costs,” Governor Lee said.  “Providing Tennesseans with telehealth options and working to bridge the digital divide is important to the future of our state.”

“Whether someone is connecting with family or meeting with a doctor, reliance on technology has sky-rocketed this year. This unprecedented shift to virtual interactions is leaving some people behind,” Governor Lee said. “Equal access to technology for everyone is a top priority for me, and I thank Comcast and all of the organizations who are working to make digital equity a reality.”

“This year has reinforced how important internet access is for everyone,” said Comcast Regional Senior Vice President Jason Gumbs. “We are proud to have the support of Governor Bill Lee and our incredible community partners as we continue to do everything we can to raise awareness and help bridge the digital divide, particularly now at a time when the need for connection is so great.”



Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. December 2020


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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. December 2020

Since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than eight-million low-income individuals, from two-million households, to the Internet at home, most for the very first time. This number includes more than 300,000 residents across Tennessee. To help provide additional support to students and families, Comcast has offered 60 days of complimentary Internet service to new, eligible Internet Essentials customers. Originally set to expire on December 31, the offer was extended through June 2021. In addition, Comcast will continue to waive, through the end of the year, the requirement that customers not have a past due balance with Comcast to qualify for the offer.

During today’s event, Comcast announced it will provide $50,000 in grants and more than 700 laptops in total to the following Tennessee community organizations:

Alpha Omega Veterans – Memphis

  • $20,000 grant for technology upgrades for veterans’ housing & programs
  • 115 laptops for veterans

Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association – Memphis

  • $10,000 grant for senior companion program
  • 130 laptops for senior companion program volunteers and participants (three featured in summit)

Nashville Public Library – Nashville

  • 250 laptops for tele-health programs for older adults
  • McGruder Family Resource Center – Nashville
  • $10,000 grant for digital literacy training classes for older adults

Urban Housing Solutions – Nashville

  • A new Comcast “LiftZone” computer lab at the Charlotte Community Center

Office on Aging – Knoxville

  • $10,000 grant for digital literacy training classes
  • 250 laptops for older adults in the programs



a man sitting at a table using a laptop: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. December 2020


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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and dozens of community leaders joined Comcast for a statewide virtual summit to spotlight the critical need to connect more older adults to the internet and telehealth resources, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. December 2020

About Internet Essentials: Since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected millions of low-income households to the Internet, most for the very first time. During that period, the program has grown from focusing on bridging the “homework gap” for school-age children to addressing digital equity issues for all Americans. The program offers low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax, provides access to free digital skills training in print, online, and in person, and includes the option to purchase a low-cost Internet-ready computer. For individuals and organizations interested in becoming a partner, please visit: https://partner.internetessentials.com to order free collateral materials.

To apply, go to: www.internetessentials.com using any web-connected device, including mobile phones. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. In addition, there are two dedicated phone numbers: 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses:  Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky.  Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses.  It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand.  NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts.  Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services.  It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services.  Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights.  Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

UT Research Park welcomes two new tenants

KNOXVILLE— University Health Pharmacy and C2 Labs moved to the University of Tennessee Research Park at Cherokee Farm this month.

The combined square footage leased by the two new tenants is more than 6,100 square feet in the Innovation North building.

University Health Pharmacy, a specialty pharmacy owned by UT Medical Center, focuses on specialty care and care of patients with rare diseases. Through UH Pharmacy, UT Medical Center participates in phase II and phase III clinical trials, which enables a more straightforward process for FDA approval of developed medications.



a man holding a sign: Dr. Troy Rebert, director for outpatient pharmacy operations and Dr. Kim Mason, executive director of pharmacy and research, both at UT Medical Center


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Dr. Troy Rebert, director for outpatient pharmacy operations and Dr. Kim Mason, executive director of pharmacy and research, both at UT Medical Center

“We’re delighted to establish our specialty pharmacy operation at UT Research Park and believe it will foster additional collaboration between pharmacists and other researchers with an interest in cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions for which specialty medications are necessary,” said Kim Mason, executive director of pharmacy and research at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. “These interdisciplinary connections through the research park will strengthen the ability for both the university and medical center to better meet their missions for research.”

C2 Labs, an enterprise-wide compliance and security software company, has decades of experience in national security and highly regulated industries and moved to the UT Research Park for the numerous collaboration and growth opportunities. C2 Labs specializes in automation to solve complex digital transformation challenges, lower operating costs and increase digital security and has already begun collaborations with the Haslam College of Business and Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 



a group of people posing for the camera: Juliette Easley and Travis Howerton of C2 Labs


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Juliette Easley and Travis Howerton of C2 Labs

“As a local entrepreneur, I was elated to open an office in East Tennessee and create high paying jobs in our community.  We also made a business decision to locate in a place with top talent, at affordable prices, and where we could have access to other innovators at UT and Oak Ridge National Lab who could help us build an innovation ecosystem and accelerate our growth,” said Travis Howerton, C2 Labs chief technical officer and co-founder. 

Both companies will contribute to the UT Research Park’s mission of forging new collaborations, according to Tom Rogers, UT Research Park president and CEO.

“C2 Labs and UH Pharmacy are really great examples of the type of partners and tenants we hope to attract to the Park,” said Rogers. “They are both working with the university and other partners to explore new innovations in their respective fields, and the opportunities for even more collaboration in the future are very bright.” 

Cumberland House Knoxville partners with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital to give back this holiday season

The Cumberland House Knoxville is proud to partner with the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH). The Cumberland House is celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas Tree in the lobby, decorated with more than 100 hand-made ornaments made by the children from ETCH. Locals, visitors and guests of the hotel will be invited to donate to ETCH by purchasing hand-crafted ornaments(decorated by the children of ETCH) all week.



a sign above a store in a living room: The Cumberland House is celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas Tree in the lobby, decorated with more than 100 hand-made ornaments made by the children from ETCH. December 2020.


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The Cumberland House is celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas Tree in the lobby, decorated with more than 100 hand-made ornaments made by the children from ETCH. December 2020.

With a minimum donation of $5 per ornament (with no max donation), all proceeds from ornament sales will go directly to support the mission of the hospital.  The fundraising goal is $1,000. 

You can also donate to ETCH via their website at https://www.etch.com/ways-to-give/make-a-donation/. ETCH will use each donation to improve the health of children through exceptional, comprehensive family-centered care, wellness and education. 

Priority Ambulance provides lifesaving technology for cardiac arrest to Loudon County first responders, frontline ambulances

Priority Ambulance delivered lifesaving automated chest compression devices to each of the fire departments providing first response in Loudon County during a presentation Dec. 9 at The Venue at Lenoir City.

The LUCAS 3 devices will be placed on fire department units for each of the first response areas in the county, as well as an additional four devices on Priority Ambulance’s frontline ambulances.

Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens, City of Loudon Mayor Jeff Harris and Loudon County Commission Chairman Henry Cullen joined the fire chiefs of Lenoir City Fire Department, City of Loudon Fire Department, Greenback Volunteer Fire Department and Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department to view a demo and accept the LUCAS devices for their communities.



a group of people standing in front of a military man: Priority Ambulance presents four LUCAS 3 automated chest compression devices to Loudon County first responder agencies to improve cardiac arrest response at a ceremony Dec. 9 at The Venue at Lenoir City. From left: Lenoir City Fire Department Captain Eddie Browder; Lenoir City Fire Department Chief Richard Martin; City of Loudon Fire Department Chief Mike Brubaker; Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens; Greenback Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ronnie Lett; Loudon City Mayor Jeff Harris; Loudon County Commissioner Chairman Henry Cullen; Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Dougherty; Priority Ambulance EMS Director Travis Estes; and Priority Ambulance Supervisor Tony Lowery.


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Priority Ambulance presents four LUCAS 3 automated chest compression devices to Loudon County first responder agencies to improve cardiac arrest response at a ceremony Dec. 9 at The Venue at Lenoir City. From left: Lenoir City Fire Department Captain Eddie Browder; Lenoir City Fire Department Chief Richard Martin; City of Loudon Fire Department Chief Mike Brubaker; Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens; Greenback Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ronnie Lett; Loudon City Mayor Jeff Harris; Loudon County Commissioner Chairman Henry Cullen; Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Dougherty; Priority Ambulance EMS Director Travis Estes; and Priority Ambulance Supervisor Tony Lowery.

“We truly appreciate the relationships that we have with our first responders,” Priority Ambulance Vice President of Operations Rob Webb said. “The interaction between our agencies that go out of the way to help each other is what makes this system work. Our Lucas devices are going to be placed in every one of our first responder agencies in the county, and we’ll have them on all of our on-duty ambulances. This is a major investment in emergency medical services that we truly believe will assist all of our partners in saving lives.”

The automated chest compression devices represent a significant equipment upgrade in the Loudon County EMS system. The LUCAS device optimizes the pressure and speed of chest compression while freeing the hands of the EMT and paramedic for other medical care or moving the patient even in tight, constrained spaces. Consistent, uninterrupted chest compressions are proven to improve patient outcomes in patients experiencing cardiac arrest.

The system also eliminates the risk of human error and fatigue in compressions – a particularly important factor in rural communities like Loudon County where patients often must travel a longer distance to the nearest hospital.

“This device doesn’t get tired like people do,” Priority Ambulance Loudon County EMS Director Travis Estes said. “The LUCAS device will uninterruptedly and consistently move oxygen and medications through the blood as we lift and move the patient. This also will remove the necessity of an ambulance crew member or first responder having to stand up in the back of the ambulance to administer compressions. Crews can now render care from a seated and belted position, which will significantly improve safety.”

Priority Ambulance is providing a total of eight LUCAS 3 devices to the community, including the four for the first responders as they often are first on the scene to initiate care and an additional four on Priority’s frontline 911 ambulances. The upgrade represents a more than $120,000 investment in specialized equipment for the county’s EMS system.

“As chairman of the commission, I want to tell you have much as a county we appreciate Priority Ambulance,” Cullen said. “The investment you have made in the county fire departments is greatly appreciated. It will sure beat bouncing around in the back of the ambulance trying to do CPR in progress.”

“Bringing lifesaving equipment to the folks at Loudon County is very much appreciated,” Aikens said.  “I can’t say enough about Priority Ambulance and their community involvement. They’ve promised they would do it, they have done it and they’ll continue to do that.”

“I think the job that Priority does here has been shown especially during the COVID situation,” Harris said. “Getting the right care to the patients is needed. I can speak for the City of Loudon that we are very thankful to have Priority here.”

Priority Ambulance provides nonemergency medical transportation serving medical facility partners in Knox and Blount counties and is the 9-1-1 ambulance partner to Loudon County. Priority Ambulance has served East Tennessee since 2014 and is the only national ambulance company headquartered in Tennessee.

New Xfinity retail store opens in Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge, Tenn. – December 9, 2020 – Comcast announced the opening of a new Xfinity customer retail store in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The 2,200 square-foot facility, located at 349 S. Illinois Ave, provides customers an immersive destination to discover and interact directly with the latest Xfinity products and services. This space opens tomorrow, December 10.

The store features interactive displays and lounge-like seating areas where visitors can explore all XFINITY products, from internet, video and connected home solutions to Xfinity Mobile. In addition to the latest mobile devices and top-of-the-line accessories, retail offerings at the store will include Xfinity Home accessories and other merchandise that complement the services.

“We’re proud to bring this interactive environment to the growing number of customers in Oak Ridge,” said Jason Gumbs, Regional SVP at Comcast.  “This latest Xfinity store opening is another milestone in our larger campaign to offer a simpler and more convenient retail experience.”

The store will be open for business Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Xfinity stores are designed strategically by product area —Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Internet – so customers can see the company’s industry-leading products in action.

  • Xfinity Mobile is a key part of Xfinity stores – customers can purchase new mobile phones, or bring their own Apple devices and choose a flexible data plan based on their individual needs – electing to pay by the gig or choose unlimited service.
  • Discover xFi, the Xfinity personalized home Wi-Fi experience, and learn how to view and control network devices through the app, site or voice remote in the Xfinity Internet zone.
  • X1, the next generation video platform, is featured in a living room environment, so customers can try the voice remote and see how X1 works firsthand.
  • The Connected Home Zone section showcases how Xfinity Home combines the best of home security and automation into one simple experience – customers can learn how they can control an increasing number of IoT devices from their phone, tablet or Xfinity Home touchscreen.

Due to COVID-19, Comcast has implemented several new policies in its stores, including:

  • Requiring face coverings for all employees and customers
  • Practicing social distancing measures such as limiting the number of customers in the store to maintain a six-foot distance between persons
  • Installing plexiglass dividers between interaction areas, kiosks, and on workstations
  • Cleaning stores professionally twice every day

The opening of new Xfinity stores is part of Comcast’s multi-year strategy to transform the customer experience; the stores provide new and existing customers a place to learn how to optimize their Xfinity services and to address any service needs.

Ole Smoky Distillery presents free holiday live stream concert

On December 15, 2020, Ole Smoky Distillery will present a free holiday live stream concert featuring Emily Ann Roberts, Meghan Patrick, JT Hodges, Jenna LaMaster and Kasey Tyndall. The live stream starts at 7pm EST at can be seen at https://olesmoky.com/pages/livestream.

Ole Smoky Distillery encourages friends and families to join them as they celebrate the holidays, Tennessee style!

Knoxville Center for Behavioral Medicine set to break ground 

KNOXVILLE, TN (December 8, 2020) – Construction plans are set to begin in December, weather permitting, on the Knoxville Center for Behavioral Medicine. The 64-bed center is a result of a partnership among National HealthCare Corporation (NHC), Tennova Healthcare, The University of Tennessee Medical Center, and Reliant Healthcare Corporation.

“We are proud to partner with the region’s leading healthcare providers to serve a critical need for the community,” said Steve Flatt, chief executive officer of NHC. “This partnership exemplifies the power of healthcare organizations working together to improve the quality of life for our patients.”

The center will provide a comprehensive continuum of care for adults and geriatric patients with psychiatric, emotional, and addictive disorders. Partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs will be offered with individualized treatment plans based on clinical need.  

The 55,000-square-foot facility will be located at the Tennova Health Park near the corner of Middlebrook Pike and Old Weisgarber Road on a 9-acre site. The center will provide more than 100 jobs for Knox County.  It is projected to open in the second quarter of 2022.

“The Knoxville Center for Behavioral Medicine will provide compassionate, quality patient care through this collaborative partnership,” said Tony Benton, president and chief executive officer of Tennova Healthcare’s East Tennessee Market. “We are pleased to provide the same quality standards as found in each organization’s existing operations.”

“There is a critical need to provide high quality care to adults and seniors who may be experiencing psychological or emotional difficulties in our 16-county region,” said Joe Landsman, president and chief executive officer of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. “The collaborative effort between these reputable healthcare organizations will bring experienced care to the community and address the need and access issues we see on a regular basis.”

“Now more than ever, we need to provide accessible, high quality care for behavioral health patients,” said Jim Harper, president of Reliant Healthcare Corporation. “The Knoxville Center for Behavioral Medicine will offer help and hope to patients in a safe and supportive environment.”

To view a message from the center partners, click here.

For more information, visit www.knoxvillebehavioralmedicine.com.

About National Healthcare Corporation

NHC affiliates operate for themselves and third parties 76 skilled nursing facilities with 9,633 beds. NHC affiliates also operate 24 assisted living communities, five independent living communities, one behavioral health hospital, and 35 homecare programs. NHC’s other services include Alzheimer’s and memory care units, hospice services, pharmacy services, a rehabilitation services company, and providing management and accounting services to third party post-acute operators. For more information, visit www.nhccare.com.

About Tennova Healthcare

The Tennova Healthcare network of hospitals in East Tennessee includes Jefferson Memorial Hospital, LaFollette Medical Center, Newport Medical Center, North Knoxville Medical Center and Turkey Creek Medical Center with nearly 16,000 admissions, 410,000 outpatient visits and 125,000 emergency department visits each year. Learn more at www.Tennova.com. 

About The University of Tennessee Medical Center

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, a Magnet® recognized hospital also certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and Comprehensive Cardiac Center, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center is a 685-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, with a regional network of primary care and specialty care physicians and practices as well as outpatient regional health centers and urgent care locations throughout its 21-county primary service area. The medical center, the region’s ACS-verified Level I Trauma Center and state designated regional perinatal referral center with a Level III private room NICU, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. UT Medical Center features seven Centers of Excellence, including the Brain & Spine Institute, Cancer Institute, Emergency & Trauma Center, Heart Lung Vascular Institute, Advanced Orthopaedic Center, Primary Care Collaborative and Center for Women & Infants. Visit UTMedicalCenter.org for more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

About Reliant Healthcare Corporation

Reliant Healthcare (“RHC”) is a behavioral healthcare management firm. RHC has been in operation for 17 years partnering with strategically located hospitals and nursing home providers across the country to help design, build, and operate behavioral health hospitals. The mission of RHC is to develop and operate “state of the science” behavioral treatment facilities. RHC has developed inpatient facilities as small as 14 beds and as large as 114 beds. For more information, visit www.relianthc.com.

The Joint Chiropractic opens third location in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (December 8, 2020) – Since the onset of COVID-19, spine health has become concerning due to lack of inactivity and poor work from home settings. Did you know that chiropractic can help with pain relief and move patients toward a healthier lifestyle? Locally, The Joint Chiropractic – North Knoxville is now open, offering accessible and convenient chiropractic services. The new office is located at 2443 Callahan Drive in the Crown Point Shopping Center.

Americans are now spending more time seated than ever before, wreaking havoc on their spines. The body is made to move and as the nation’s largest provider of chiropractic care, The Joint is celebrating with a month-long grand opening from now until Jan. 4, 2021, that includes:

  • A free consultation, exam and adjustment for new patients by texting “NORTH KNOXVILLE” to 56468
  • Door prizes, games and refreshments

After the grand opening month, new patients receive their initial visit for $29.00, which includes the consultation, exam and adjustment.

“Physical inactivity has been a rapidly growing public health concern during the pandemic,” said Dr. Stuart Humberg, D.C. at The Joint Chiropractic – North Knoxville. “As Chiropractors, we recognize this as being a major health problem and seek to keep patients functioning at their best through proper adjusting and appropriate exercise recommendations.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, only about 25 percent of Americans were getting their recommended daily exercise even before the pandemic. The less people move, the higher the risk to their health and wellness and the weaker their muscles get. As back muscles weaken, they cannot support the spine as they should. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to weight gain, weaker bones, increased risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and increased inflammation.

Millions of Americans have found relief from pain due to the benefits of chiropractic’s natural, drug-free approach to healthcare. The Joint Chiropractic is known for its conducive retail setting and concierge-style services. For patients, that means no-appointments, no-insurance hassles, affordable chiropractic care and accommodating hours of operations, including evenings and weekends.

For information on The Joint Chiropractic and its services, or to find one of our chiropractors near you, visit thejoint.com. To learn more about your first visit at The Joint, go to thejoint.com/what-to-expect.

About The Joint Chiropractic

The Joint Corp. revolutionized access to chiropractic care when it introduced its retail healthcare business model in 2010. Today, the company is making quality care convenient and affordable, while eliminating the need for insurance, for millions of patients seeking pain relief and ongoing wellness. With more than 550 locations nationwide and over seven million patient visits annually, The Joint Chiropractic is a key leader in the chiropractic industry. Named one of the Top 200+ Franchises by Franchise Times and ranked on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® list, The Joint Chiropractic is an innovative force, where healthcare meets retail. For more information, visit www.thejoint.com. To learn about franchise opportunities, visit www.thejointfranchise.com.

The Joint Corp. is a franchisor of clinics and an operator of clinics in certain states. In Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, The Joint Corp. and its franchisees provide management services to affiliated professional chiropractic practices. This clinic is owned and operated by Smokey Mountain Chiropractic PC and managed by Tennessee Wellness, LLC.

Follow us on Twitter @thejointchiro, and find us on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

South College launches nine new technology programs

South College is launching two new certificate level and seven new master’s level technology programs. Enrollment is open for qualified students, and classes start Jan. 20, 2021.

The new technology programs are delivered in a fully online format with the certificate level programs designed for completion in 30 weeks for full-time students and the master’s level programs designed for completion in 40 weeks for full-time students.

“We strive to provide programs in fields with growing demand, so expanding our technology offerings through our excellent online platform is a logical way to grow to meet those needs,” South College Chancellor Steve South said. “These programs expand the roster of the School of Computer Science and Engineering by providing a pathway from entry-level certificate programs that build through the associate and bachelor’s levels and provide for career enhancement for current professionals to advance with the master’s level options. These new programs are excellent additions for technology students.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 in 2019.

The new programs intentionally are short in duration. The certificate programs require no prior experience and are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in the computing field. The master’s degrees offer paths to completion in as few as 40 weeks. The programs are headed by Dr. Theodor Richardson, the Dean of Academics for South College Online.

The new programs include:

  • Software Developer Certificate
  • Data Science Certificate
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Computer Science with concentration in Artificial Intelligence
  • Master of Science in Software Engineering
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Master of Science in Data Science
  • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Master of Science in IT Management

“There currently is a significant job gap between the need for computer science practitioners and enrolled students,” Richardson said. “The certificate programs provide quick entry into the field and include the opportunity to gain the essential currency of industry certifications for students to gain employment without an associate or bachelor’s degree. The graduate programs offer courses aligned with skills needed for an advanced career path and preparation for lifelong learning.”

For more information South College, including the new technology programs, visit https://www.south.edu/.

About South College

South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels, as well as certificates. Questions about the accreditation of South College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (https://www.sacscoc.org). For more information, visit https://www.south.edu/.

Clayton’s New Home Innovation Lab showcases commitment to design, collaboration, quality, and affordability

MARYVILLE, TN.– Dec. 1, 2020 — Clayton Home Building Group®, a leading builder of off-site and sitebuilt homes, delivers on its continuous commitment to designing quality, high end homes attainable for all home buyers, at any price point with the creation and establishment of The Home Innovation Lab, or The Lab.



a large room with tables and chairs: The Home Innovation Lab features team work spaces.


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The Home Innovation Lab features team work spaces.

The new space is a dedicated home-base for architects, engineers, 3D rendering and interior design teams. It provides a unique and versatile place where Clayton teams can collaborate using innovative technology to create and design Clayton Built® homes that keep the buyers needs and lifestyle at the forefront of the building process.

“The use of innovative technology has added a seamless element to the home building design process,” shared Megan Foster, Interior Design Manager of Clayton’s design team. “We can tweak options within floor plans and design elements to see what the home would look like, all in virtual reality, cutting the expense of building a physical prototype. We have the capability to view different finishes and virtually build features we’ve learned our customers are looking for, such as flexible spaces for home offices or multi-functional storage nooks.”

The Lab provides a workspace and acts as a think tank for all Clayton team members involved in the design process, from engineers and architects to material management and production team members. It also houses the sample materials workroom with various building materials from brand partners, displayed for optimized decision making when choosing finishes and upgrades. The presentation and virtual reality space showcase the end result of home designs and floor plan options that are practical, beautiful and thoughtfully designed for any lifestyle.

This progressive approach and commitment to forward-thinking design is what helps keep Clayton ahead of the curve. Clayton interior design team members attend and present at design and home conferences throughout the country each year, and continuously study how homeowners live in their homes to ensure homes are functional as well as beautiful. Additionally, The Clayton Insights team specializes in discovering and dissecting housing trends, how today’s individuals and families live and who home buyers are.

“Clayton is invested in constantly improving its home designs and providing innovative features to our homes,” said Keith Holdbrooks, President of Clayton Home Building Group. “We have invested in assembling these world-class teams, who together have a wide array of backgrounds in architecture and interior design, to deliver beautiful homes that meet our customers’ evolving needs.”

Clayton strives to offer the latest in home technology, design trends and floor plan layouts to home buyers across the country and incorporating these interactive elements helps make the design process more collaborative and efficient.

UTHSC College of Medicine launches 3-year accelerated curriculum program for primary care fields

Memphis, Tenn. (December 8, 2020) – The College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is pleased to launch an accelerated curriculum program to allow students committed to practicing in primary care fields to complete their medical education and training in three years, instead of the customary four years.

The Accelerated 3-Year MD Program was approved in late October by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits educational programs at schools of medicine in the United States. The UTHSC College of Medicine is currently recruiting its first cohort of up to 10 students to begin in the fall of 2021.

The program is available to students who know they want to enter the fields of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Medicine-Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, or Psychiatry. Accepted students will be conditionally accepted to one of these residency programs in the UTHSC system upon graduation from medical school.

The new curriculum allows the College of Medicine to help relieve the critical shortage of primary care physicians in the state, particularly in rural areas. It is hoped the program encourages graduates to remain in Tennessee to practice. The program may also make a medical degree accessible to more students by decreasing tuition costs.

“The 3-year program will hopefully attract high-caliber applicants,” said Tina Mullick Borschel, MD, MS, associate professor and clerkship director in Internal Medicine in the College of Medicine. “We are recruiting students who are committed to these primary care specialties and who desire to complete their training faster to decrease tuition costs and start their practice a year earlier.”

The 3-Year program working group includes physicians from across specialties and UTHSC campuses. In addition to Dr. Mullick Borschel, the group includes: Mukta Panda, MD, professor and assistant dean for Well-Being and Medical Student Education in the UTHSC College of Medicine in Chattanooga; Kristen Bettin, MD, MEd, FAAP, assistant professor and clerkship director of Pediatrics and assistant dean of Clinical Curriculum in the UTHSC College of Medicine; Sarah Tiggelaar, MD, FAAFP, assistant professor and associate residency program director for the Memphis Department of Family Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine; and Govinda Paudel, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology in the UTHSC College of Medicine.

“From the medical school standpoint, it is advantageous, because this allows us to have a pipeline of excellent applicants who become students and then residents,” Dr. Mullick Borschel said. “We’re not mandating that they continue to work in Tennessee or the surrounding states after they graduate, but we know that people who complete residency here tend to stay as practicing physicians. Really, it is a win-win at all levels, for the students, the medical school, and the state.”

In the accelerated curriculum, the preclinical phase of classroom instruction in the first two years of medical school will be similar to the standard curriculum. Students will complete all the core clinical rotations, but fewer electives, since they will have already chosen their field of practice. This allows students to complete medical school in a shorter time, while receiving similar training to their 4-year peers.

“We are happy to welcome these outstanding applicants as students and residents and look forward to the success and growth of this program,” said Dr. Mullick Borschel. While the 3-year curriculum is starting at the Memphis campus and is limited to certain residencies, the program intends to eventually expand to other specialties and to campuses across the state.

“We are incredibly excited about this program, as it will increase the already outstanding quality of our applicant pool, reduce the burden of student debt, and grow the pool of talented primary care physicians to serve the health care needs of Tennesseans,” said Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine.

Centriworks selected as a 2020 ENX Magazine elite dealer

Toluca Lake, CA: ENX Magazine announced that Centriworks was selected as a 2020 Elite Dealer. Each year, ENX Magazine judges Elite Dealer applicants on many criteria, from technical service excellence to marketing proficiency, growth initiatives, technology leadership, industry accolades, and philanthropy. Those dealers chosen are profiled in the December issue of ENX Magazine. Centriworks is a multi-year winner. Read the article at https://www.centriworks.com/enx-elite-dealer-2020/.

“We were ecstatic to be selected as a 2020 Elite Dealer by ENX Magazine,” said J. Mark DeNicola, chief strategy officer and chief financial officer of Centriworks. “We work very hard at being the best we can be and creating a great experience for our clients and team members. It is nice to be recognized by experts in our industry.”

“In a year of substantial challenges brought on by the pandemic, we have come to measure an Elite Dealer by its ability to pivot to the changing needs of its customer base,” said Susan Neimes, managing editor of ENX Magazine and ENX The Week In Imaging. “Many of the honorees share a corporate culture that embraces a family atmosphere and stresses serving both clients and employees. Products and technology will always drive business, but customers respond favorably to vendors that can serve their every need. I think this year’s list exemplifies that spirit.”

About ENX Magazine

ENX Magazine is a monthly publication dedicated to the office technology and document imaging industry since 1994. In its 27th year, ENX Magazine continues to deliver exclusive editorial coverage on market opportunities and issues, news and trends, company profiles, new products, and industry insights.

About Centriworks

Centriworks is East Tennessee’s largest business technology company offering Managed IT Services, Cybersecurity, IT Consulting & Software, VOIP Phones, and Hardware to enable clients to focus on their core business. Now in its 56th year, the company has more than 60 employees at offices in Knoxville and Johnson City. For Centriworks’ complete range of products and services, visit www.centriworks.com.

Squisito Too NY Pizza & Pasta continues expansion with first-ever Tennessee location debuting in Sevierville

Sevierville, TN (December 2020) – Squisito Too, one of the country’s fastest-growing fast casual pizza and pasta franchises, is expanding to Tennessee with the official opening of its first location in Sevierville. Slated to officially open to the public on Monday, December 7th, Squisito Too is located in the bustling Tanger Outlets shopping center. It marks the first of three locations from new franchisees Joey and Missy Messick that are slated to open in the coming year, including a second outpost in Knoxville, across from the University of Tennessee campus.

Joey Messick is a second-generation Krispy Kreme franchisee with two stores currently open in the Sevierville-Knoxville area. Searching for the perfect fast-casual concept to bring to the area, Joey and Missy felt aligned with Squisito Too and its build-your-own menu model. With an array of authentic recipes, the husband-and-wife team knew it would be the perfect fit in the Knoxville/Pigeon Forge area, confident that guests will appreciate the high-quality menu and create-your-own vibe.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to bring Squisito Too here and introduce this delicious yet affordable concept to our hometown,” said Missy and Joey Messick. “We feel so passionate about the product that we are on track to open four locations across the area, being able to spread the word and reintroduce what fast casual should be.”

Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. is based in Annapolis, Maryland and oversees the franchising efforts of both Squisito Pizza & Pasta and Squisito Too. With over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and managing restaurants ranging from fine dining to fast-casual, the Messicks have tremendous support and are backed by the incredible track record of the Squisito brand. Squisito currently boasts 10 locations throughout the Northeast with seven additional openings, including those in Tennessee, planned for the immediate future. The Sevierville store will become the second Squisito Too location following Jessup, Maryland which opened its doors earlier this year in 2020.

“Joey and Missy have great knowledge in the franchising industry, and we know that Squisito Too will be a success in this high-traffic area, appealing to both locals and tourists alike,” said Michele DiMeo, President of Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. “We look forward to our ongoing partnership and are so fortunate for those in Eastern Tennessee to now have access to our award-winning Italian recipes.”

Each Squisito Too location embodies the same set of core values – delicious, fresh, traditional Italian food, incredible customer service and a dedication to give back to the communities in which they do business. Squisito Too is currently franchising and aggressively expanding throughout the Eastern Seaboard. Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. is the principle franchisor for both Squisito Too and its sister concept, Squisito Pizza & Pasta.

About Squisito® Franchise Enterprises, Inc. 

Squisito® Franchise Enterprises, Inc., based in Maryland, is the principle franchisor of both Squisito Pizza & Pasta and Squisito Too franchise opportunities. The Italian word “Squisito,” translated into English as “exquisite,” is a guiding principle applied to all facets of the Squisito franchise dining experience. Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc. combines delicious cuisine, fresh ingredients, fast casual ordering systems and an open-style kitchen in order to allow guests to experience the Italian traditions firsthand.

Squisito Franchise Enterprises, Inc.’s latest franchise concept, Squisito Too, is a create-your-own dining experience in a fast-casual restaurant. Guests have the opportunity to be their own chef by customizing their entrées. Learn more about the fast-casual Italian opportunities with Squisito Franchise Enterprises at www.squisitofranchise.com.

The Knoxville Museum of Art presents the 2020 East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition

December 3, 2020 (Knoxville, TN) – The Knoxville Museum of Art and the Tennessee Art Education Association present the East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition now through Sunday, January 10, 2021. Now in its 15th year, the exhibition offers middle and high school students from around East Tennessee the opportunity to participate in a juried exhibition and to display their talents and be honored for their accomplishments in a professional art museum environment.  This event is made possible by the generosity of presenting sponsor Regal Entertainment Group with additional sponsorship from The KMA Guild, Pharma Packaging Solutions, Home Federal Bank, Ann and Steve Bailey, Sarah Stowers, Sandi Burdick & Tom Boyd, and the Rotary Club of Knoxville.

The East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition is open to students in grades 6-12 attending public, private, or home schools in 32 counties across East Tennessee. Approximately 311 works of the more than 530 entries in this highly competitive show made it through a rigorous jury process. The best-in-show winner will receive a purchase award of $500, and the artwork will become a permanent part of the collection of Mr. James Dodson, on loan to the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Education Collection. 

Since 2005, the East Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition has presented the work of nearly 4,000 students who have competed for a total of $7 million in scholarships made available to eligible juniors and seniors by colleges and universities from around the nation.

The “best of” winners for 2020:

Best in Show, Lily Asbury, 11th Grade, The Days We’ll Look Back On and Smile, acrylic paint, Cocke County High School, Myra Amason, Art Teacher

Best in Ceramic, Avery Flatford, 11th Grade, Mr. Tentacles, clay raku fired, Farragut High School, Wendie Love, Art Teacher

Best in Computer Graphics, Kendall Livingston, 10th Grade, Under rated, print, Maryville High School, Dr. Jeanie Parker, Art Teacher

Best in Drawing, Imelia Markus-Brock, 9th Grade, Eye Spy, charcoal, Oak Ridge High School, Gisela Schrock, Art Teacher

Best in Mixed Media, Rainee Mitchell, 10th Grade, Beautiful Mind, cardboard, glue, ink, magazine, paint, Oak Ridge High School, Joseph Moseley, Art Teacher

Best In Painting, Aurora Baez, 8th Grade, Orchids, acrylic paint, Bearden Middle School, Kimberly Bishop, Art Teacher

Best Photography, Kayleigh Brownlee, 8th Grade, My Creation in the Leaves, chromebook and origami, Bearden Middle School, Kimberly Bishop, Art Teacher

Best in Printmaking, Tristan Howard, 7th Grade, Atlantic Puffin, linoleum block print, The McCallie School, Suzanne Mortimer, Art Teacher

Best in Sculpture, Brian Barbo, 12th Grade, Ingrain, wood, metal and found objects, Hardin Valley Academy, Benjamin Eng, Art Teacher

Best in Show-Middle School, Bella Zigrossi, 8th Grade, Carnival, wool roving picks on styrofoam form, Saint Joseph School, Gae Sharp, Art Teacher

Best in Video Production, Lewis Walton, 12th Grade, LOVE, video production, West High School, Kat Furnari, Art Teacher

The Knoxville Museum of Art

The Knoxville Museum of Art celebrates the art and artists of East Tennessee, presents new art and new ideas, serves and educates diverse audiences, and enhances Knoxville’s quality of life. The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World’s Fair Park and is open to the public on a limited schedule Wednesday through Sunday 1–5pm. Admission and parking are free. Reservations are recommended by going to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/knoxville-museum-of-art-timed-entry-visitor-registration-registration-109053985406.

Call Center Sales Pro bringing new employment opportunity to Seymour during statewide pandemic job loss

SEYMOUR, TN, December 1, 2020—Seymour-based Call Center Sales Pro announces today, as part of its strategic expansion, the hiring of an additional thirty full time roles as it adds a new major medical client to its service.

At a time when workforce numbers affirm job loss is increasing statewide – 93 Tennessee counties reported increasing unemployment benefit claims in October 2020 – the state is currently exceeding national unemployment figures.

“Our company is working hard to continue to offer new employment opportunities in our region,” said Call Center Sales Pro CEO Janet Livingston. “We’ve seen our client’s suffer through COVID-19 economic catastrophe. Being part of the solution in Sevier county — only one of two counties that has decreased unemployment across the state — is a huge win for us,” Livingston said.  

Qualified candidates will be hired as dedicated-account agents and trained in a COVID-compliant facility to help connect Americans around the country to primary care from a leading telehealth provider.

“The scope of work for our new client underscores the surging demand for new models of accessible healthcare as Americans are asked to limit outings as much as possible,” Livingston said.

Call Center Sales Pro works with a variety of business verticals, and as its primary work, delivers an essential service to support outsourced call care and answering service solutions to the medical industry. The company is increasing its footprint as an East Tennessee employer, and has seamlessly transitioned to a COVID-compliant working infrastructure.

Call Center Sales Pro is among the top quarter of Inc. 5000’s 2020 fastest growing companies in America and is the 2020 winner of Women’s Business Excellence Pinnacle Award from the the Knoxville Area Chamber of Commerce. The company relocated to Seymour five years ago, opening a call center campus and bringing jobs to support its national family of answering service brands to the East Tennessee region.

Call Center Sales Pro promises new hires will receive excellent benefits, a fixed full time schedule, monthly employee contests, and educational opportunities to advance as a call center industry professional.

“We want to give people who have become a statistic of this pandemic hope that there are new opportunities rising from the disaster. While we’ve adjusted our environment to keep employees well, our clients are promoting new products that also support community health and safety. To give a second chance to those who’ve been left behind is our privilege. We look forward to bringing a new group into our company,” Livingston said.  

For more information, please visit our employment listing at: https://indeedhi.re/3lxhD8l

Call Center Sales Pro  (CCSP) is the headquarters of a suite of US-based business solutions including telephone answering service, healthcare call centers, outsource call centers, business process outsourcing (BPO), nurse triage, appointment scheduling, and call center consulting. With locations in Redding, CA; San Francisco, CA; Toledo, OH; New York, NY; Chicago, IL; and Seymour, TN, CCSP recognizes that what sets them above is their focus on people – both the people on their team as well as the people they serve. CCSP also operates a sister company, ONE Service Pros that offers electrical, plumbing, HVAC, security, building maintenance, and more to the Knoxville area. More information about the CCSP’s family of brands can be found at www.callcenter-salespro.com.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Biz Ticker: Public school teachers in Knoxville receive a portion of SONIC’s $1.3 million donation

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