John Shearer: While In Town, Krystal CEO Presents Check To Orchard Knob Middle School

Monday, May 21, 2018 - by John Shearer

The Orchard Knob Middle School band got a sound ‘check’ of a different kind Monday morning.

While in Chattanooga for the Krystal restaurant chain’s corporate-wide convention running through Wednesday at the downtown Marriott/Trade Center, new company CEO Paul Macaluso presented the school a check for $3,000 to help buy and repair instruments.

During an 8 a.m. presentation inside the library of the school off North Highland Park Avenue, he briefly turned into teacher and used Krystal as an example to the several dozen students and staff gathered of how dreams can come true.

“It started in a small building in downtown Chattanooga, and now we have close to 400 restaurants in 11 states,” he said. “You can see how dreams can build from something small.”

Among those who have been dreaming is first-year Orchard Knob band director and teacher Annece Holts. When she arrived this year after teaching at two elementary schools in Knox County, she realized that many of the school’s instruments did not work, and she also had to borrow additional instruments from a Signal Mountain school.

In fact, putting together instruments was much more on her mind than the usual first step of putting together pieces of music.

“Music is incredibly important, especially to our students,” she said in explaining her motivation. “They love coming to band. Getting new instruments and having some of the things we have repaired will really excite them more and let them be able to grow more on working equipment.”

Among the band students already excited were flute player Patience Freeman and alto saxophone player Skylar Johnson. Patience said one of her keys on her flute does not work, while Skylar added that he can’t play low on his sax because a piece where the instrument is broken keeps poking him.

“I feel like it will give me a better opportunity to play my instrument more,” he said after hearing about the donation.

The money for the check for the musical instruments and equipment upgrade came from Krystal’s two-year-old Krystal Foundation. Mr. Macaluso said before the ceremony that the check is an example of efforts by the company to help in areas where it operates restaurants.

“It’s a way for us to give back to the communities in which we live and work and play,” he said. “It’s all about giving to the children and helping them to continue to grow.”

Besides the arts, the foundation also tries to help in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Checks are also being presented to two Cleveland schools – Cleveland Middle and George Stuart Elementary – for technology-related programs.

Regarding Orchard Knob, teacher Ms. Holts said that the school has had a band off and on, and her goal is to have a regular pep band to play at the school’s football and basketball games.

She has a little experience with bands, as she once played for the most famous school band in the state – the University of Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland Band – after playing in the band at South Fork High School in Stuart, Fla.

“It was the best experience,” she said. “All of my fond college memories come from the Pride of the Southland Band.”

She had meticulously filled out the grant application, and that had resulted in the joining of the sax and other instruments with the sacks full of Krystal food and drinks also handed out at the school Monday along with Krystal coupons.

“She poured her heart into the application process,” said Mr. Macaluso during the presentation.

Mr. Macaluso is also from Florida originally and said in the brief interview before speaking that he enjoyed Krystal food as a child in the central part of the state.

“I have fond memories of going to Krystal with my brother and my dad and enjoying the products and enjoying time together,” he said. “It’s a big part of why I joined the company six weeks ago.”

He said the company also loves its Chattanooga heritage, and that was one reason they wanted to have their meeting here, even though the corporate headquarters are now in Atlanta.

“It (Chattanooga) is everything to Krystal,” he said. “It is the soul of our company. Our company was founded here, and a big part of our presence is here with over 25 restaurants and over 600 employees. We are excited to be back and celebrating together.”

He also said that the chain is coming out with a new retro-inspired modern look, and the style is being called the Davenport in honor of company co-founder R.B. Davenport and the Davenport family’s long connection to the chain. The first restaurant with this look is scheduled to open in late July in Jackson, Miss., he said.

He added that the convention is drawing both corporate and system-wide employees and franchisees.

“We are recognizing each other and building our plans for the brand moving forward,” he said.

McKamey Animal Center Offers $500 Reward

McKamey Animal Center is seeking information regarding three seriously neglected dogs abandoned in the 3400 block of Lightfoot Mill Road in Chattanooga sometime around or before Oct. 12. The dogs were found by the railroad tracks, which is a common location for abandoned animals, officials said.   According to McKamey Animal Service’s Officer Rebecca Ross, “All three ... (click for more)

Former Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham Helps Honoring The Sacrifice Foundation

Honoring the Sacrifice Foundation received a $20,000 gift from the discretionary funds account of departing Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham. Honoring the Sacrifice Foundation is a Chattanooga based public benefit charity whose mission is to meet the unique needs of post-9/11 severely wounded veterans. The donated funds will be used to purchase a custom wheel chair for ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Investigating Shooting That Victim Says Happened A Week Ago

Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital on Friday evening after a person arrived with a gunshot wound.   The injured man told police he was shot on Thursday, Oct. 11. He said he was shot while on the dance floor of a club somewhere along Brainerd Road.   If you have any information about the incident, call Chattanooga Police at 423-698-2525. You ... (click for more)

Charles Pipkens, Lajeromeney Brown Arrested In Series Of Violent Home Invasions In Which Robbers Posed As Police

Chattanooga Police have arrested Charles Dijon Pipkens and Lajeromeney Brown in connection with a series of violent home invasions in which the suspects told their victims they were Chattanooga Police officers.. Pipkens, 27, was charged in an Aug. 11 case and Brown, 40, in an incident on Sept. 19. Pipkens, of 434 N. Hickory St., is charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping, ... (click for more)

Teach For America Raises Concerns

For the last several years, many groups, individuals and parties interested in preserving public education for our children have stood firm as a rampantly growing privatization movement has descended upon our local educational landscape.  We saw last year the Department of Education push a plan that would form a partnership zone which could potentially lead to schools in the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Inequality & The Left

The story is told about a liberal politician who was getting a room full of snowflakes all heated up over equity and equality, which is big with the political Left right now. One of his handlers finally got the chance and whispered in his ear, “Use ‘fairness’ instead! That’s what sells … “ Afterwards a newspaper column read, “The liberals love fairness because it cannot be measured. ... (click for more)