Smokies Telethon Raises Over $200,000

Friday, August 16, 2013
Home Federal Bank's volunteer team with President and CEO Dale Keasling, who is also Friends of the Smokies' board vice chairman.
Home Federal Bank's volunteer team with President and CEO Dale Keasling, who is also Friends of the Smokies' board vice chairman.
- photo by Kathryn Robertson
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park raised $201,423 on Thursday night through its 19th annual “Friends Across the Mountains” telethon, thanks to hundreds of callers and help from sponsors Dollywood, Mast General Store, Pilot Corporation, and SmartBank.  Since 1995 Friends of the Smokies telethons have raised more than $2.9 million.
 
“We extend our sincere thanks to each person that pledged support during the annual telethon.  Your stewardship allows us to better meet the growing challenges in caring for park resources and providing opportunities for visitors and we thank you,” said Dale Ditmanson, superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
 
During the broadcast, Sugarland Cellars owner Don Collier presented a $20,000 check to the organization.  Since the spring of 2012 the Gatlinburg winery has offered five limited edition varietals with custom labels created by renowned artist Robert A. Tino.  Each release is paired with Tino’s matching artistic tiles featuring each label’s artwork.  Every bottle generates a $5 donation to help Friends of the Smokies in its mission to preserve and protect GSMNP.
 
“The generous response to this year’s Friends Across the Mountains Telethon is a continuing testimony to the love that people have for the Smokies and how very important it is to our region,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart.
 
Telethon donations can still be made online at www.friendsofthesmokies.org to help fund more than $1 million of Park needs this year, to protect black bears, heal hemlock trees, and preserve historic log cabins and churches from Cades Cove to Cataloochee Valley.

Registration Opens March 1 For 67th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage

Registration for the 67th annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage   opens at  8 a.m.   Wednesday, March 1 . Each year, more than 700 people from more than 35 states and beyond descend on the Great Smoky Mountains as the spring flora tints the forest with flowers and vibrant spring migratory birds return to their summer home. This year, the pilgrimage ... (click for more)

Alexander Votes To Confirm Scott Pruitt To Serve As Administrator Of The EPA

Senator Lamar Alexander on Friday released the following statement on his vote to confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency:  "I look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt to make sure federal policies put nuclear power on a level playing field, especially since nuclear power produces 60 percent ... (click for more)

Commissioner Boyd Asks County Auditor To Get Detailed Data On Visitors Bureau Spending; Graham Says CVB Should Be Left Alone

County Commission Finance Committee Chairman Tim Boyd said he is asking County Auditor Jenneth Randall to supply him with details about spending at the Chattanooga Visitors Bureau, including actual credit card and travel expense statements. He said he also wanted copies of contracts for office renovations made to the SunTrust Building 18th floor where the CVB has offices and all ... (click for more)

Developer Agrees To Set Aside 5 "Affordable" Units At Bread Factory Lofts After City Board Is Vote Short Of Approving Refinancing

A South Carolina developer who is purchasing the Bread Factory Lofts on the Southside agreed to set aside five units for "affordable housing" in order to get the approval of a city board for the financing of the purchase. Only four members of the Health, Education and Housing Facility Board were present, and Lloyd Longnion said he would not give approval unless the developer ... (click for more)

Getting The Message

Our school age youth have inspired me with their responses during “Q and A” sessions after my readings as a volunteer during African American History Celebrations and Read across America Celebration, too.  Before this school year, I read to classes at Orchard Knob Elementary School and at Rivermont Elementary School, here in Hamilton County.   Their answers to factual ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ed Chief ‘Embarrassed’

At the start of the school year in September, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Candice McQueen held an “educational summit” with state legislators from embattled Hamilton County. The entire “summit” took a prescribed 90 minutes and was such a dog-and-pony show her strongest statement was, "Create your plan around the right vision, have some metrics and align to the right ... (click for more)