Feb 13 2012

The Milarepa Ösel Chö Dzong Meditation and Retreat Sanctuary in Happy Valley, off the Foothills Parkway in Blount County, celebrated a new beginning with a tour and flower plantings ths weekend. WBIR has a report.

The Meditation and Retreat Sanctuary is on 30 acres of land, which is currently the home of UT Professor Jeffrey Davis.

The retreat will be open to people of all religions seeking to engage in contemplation and meditation.

Feb 3 2012
When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

CAPPE (Citizens Against Pellissippi Parkway Extension) is holding their annual meeting Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at 1:30PM.

Blount County Public Library
Dorothy Herron Room A
Sunday, February 26, 2012
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM

CAPPE’s Annual Meeting is your opportunity to make your views known, learn about our plans for the year, and elect Board members. This is the first time we have held the Annual Meeting on a Sunday afternoon.

The program this year has an additional purpose: after our Annual Meeting adjourns, we are hosting the PlanET workshop on strengths and challenges facing our community.

PlanET is a 3-year regional planning initiative that aims to “develop a Regional Plan for Livable Communities, develop regional capacity to improve the quality of life for the residents of this region, and create and implement an ambitious regionwide, multi-jurisdictional plan that will integrate economic development, environment, infrastructure and public health elements in a comprehensive manner to address area needs.” The counties participating in PlanET are Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, and Union

John Lamb, Blount County Planner, will lead the workshop, during which each participant will have opportunities to identify major assets and challenges for our region. The results of our workshop will be combined by the PlanET staff with the results of other workshops to develop proposals for the future of our region.

Feb 3 2012
When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

CAPPE (Citizens Against Pellisippi Parkway Extension) are holding their 10th annual ChiliFest Saturday, February 4, 2012.

Stovall Family Life Center beside First Church of the Nazarene
1608 E. Broadway, Maryville (near 5 points on Old Knoxville Hwy/Maryville Pike, next to Amburns Humdinger Drive-In Restaurant).
4 PM to 6:30PM

This is both a contest for prizes in four categories (beef, other meats and vegetarian chili) and a community tasting event.

The event begins at 4pm, with tasting and judging continuing until the winners are announced at 6:00pm. In addition to the different chilis and a variety of beverages, tortillas and quesadillas will be available along with a bake sale of delicious home-made treats. Everyone will be eligible to win door prizes.

Suggested donation for admission is $7 at the door (children under 10 admitted free). Admission includes tastes of entries, one bowl of chili and one vote for the People's Choice winner.

For more information, call Mike Cook, CAPPE President 984 9003 or Susan Keller 982 4267.

Dec 26 2011

View Blount County Christmas Light Displays, 2011 in a larger map

From a story in the Maryville Daily Times, here is a map of Christmas light displays submitted by their readers.

A source tells us that advocates for the defeated Blount Co. charter school are running for open school board seats. Apparently there is a developing trend of recruiting and funding local school board candidates favorable to privatizing public education by way of charter schools and vouchers.

Coincidentally, Tennessee Charter Schools Association (who guided the Blount Co. charter application and lobbied for it) has increased its annual fundraising from $75,000 to $1.2M.

Much of that is apparently from the Walton Family Foundation, which funneled $812,000 to the organization for "advocacy groups promoting public charter school choice; private school choice; district reforms, particularly open enrollment and district school choice; and cross-sector parental choice."

Here's a report on how it works. Watch the video. Very disturbing.

The Tennessee State Board of Education upheld Monday the Blount County Board of Education’s denial of a charter to HOPE (Hands-On, Progressive Education) Academy.

The group trying to open a charter school in Blount County is free to apply again in 2012. How much money and time is spent by our local school system trying to fend off predators instead of being able to educate our young people?

Many thanks to Blount County Schools for working so hard to defend our local school system.

Dec 15 2011

The Plan East Tennessee project and is seeking your ideas and commentary.

PlanET says "As part of the project, we are using an online discussion venue called MindMixer. MindMixer is a structured discussion environment that is used to generate ideas, discuss them and vote/promote the best ones, but it needs well-rounded input from citizens across the region. The current discussion relates to strengths and weaknesses of the region and the each of the five counties in the PlanET region (Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Union). As the PlanET planning process advances, additional questions/topics will be added."

Join the discussion...

Blount County topics...

Learn more about PlanET...

Nov 30 2011

As reported by R. Neal at,

The State Board of Education held an appeal hearing yesterday regarding a proposed Blount County charter school that was rejected by Blount County schools (and Alcoa schools before that). The organizers appealed to the state and a decision is expected by year end.

The Maryville Daily Times reports that Ruby Tuesday joined Airport Honda, Clayton Homes, East TN Land Development, LLC and US Foodservice in support of the charter school.

(The article did not mention that Warren Buffett, who is involved with the Gates Foundation's efforts to undermine public education and teachers, owns Clayton Homes.)

According to the report, citizens showed up at the meeting to speak for and against the charter school. "My children don’t need this school taking money away from their school," said Gary Wynn, a parent of two Blount Co. school students.

The Daily Times coverage, while mostly "fair and balanced" with regard to reporting "both sides" of the controversial proposal, appears biased against public schools and in favor of diverting taxpayer money from public education to fund charter schools. Charter school lobbyist Matt Throckmorton appears to have them on speed dial. Their latest spin promotes "public schools of choice."

What the local coverage has failed to do thus far is explain why the charter school organizers are any better qualified than the local school system and professional educators, or what the charter school organizers bring to the table other than demands for a $1.5 million handout from taxpayers.

It's also amazing that so many people in the community seem so concerned about our "failing" public schools yet keep electing people at the local and state level who oppose public education. Well, I guess it isn't all that amazing, really.

Nov 29 2011

The Tennessee State Board of Education is holding a public hearing today, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, at 11:30AM, to review Blount County's denial of a new charter school. The meeting should be over by 12:45PM.

The meeting will be held at:
Blount County Schools
Board Room
831 Grandview Drive
Maryville, TN 37803

State officials will allow additional written comments after the hearing, and comments will be received by the state Board of Education until Dec. 6.

Stand up and be heard. Public comments will be allowed at the meeting for 15 minutes. Otherwide, you can contact the Tennessee State Board of Education to let them know the charter school should not be allowed in Blount County. Comments must be received by 4:30 PM CST, Dec. 6, 2011.

Contact for your comments:
Dannelle F. Walker
General Counsel
Tennessee State Board of Education
9th Floor, 710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
FAX: (615) 741-0371

Theoretically, this will be your last chance to oppose a charter school for Blount County. Please, do your part and contact the TN State Board of Education with your comments.

The Tennessee State Treasurer "has ruled that establishing the school would not have a substantial negative fiscal impact on Blount County Schools."

Not a "substantial negative fiscal impact"? Could have a negative impact though? Maybe The Daily Times reporter could ask the state rep to define substantial and obtain details on the analysis that determined this ruling. School systems all over the region, state, and country are fighting to provide a decent education with funding cutbacks. Why would anyone want to approve an effort that could have any kind of negative fiscal impact on the system?

Oct 11 2011
When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

On Thursday, Nov. 3 from 7-9pm, Blount County's own celebrity chef Olivia Sipe will be giving a cooking demonstration and serving heavy hors d'oeuvres with beverages at The Market at Washington and High Streets. Miss Olivia assures us you will not need a meal afterwards! Tickets are $20 per person and reservations are required before October 31 (
Beer from The Market's draft taps will be available for an additional $3.

Sep 4 2011

Keep up-to-date on the latest at FixAlcoaHighway.

KNS Guest Editorial, Alcoa Highway bypass: Bad process leads to bad project

MDT Letter to Editor, Alcoa bypass is not a good solution

Tab Burkhalter, Blount County commissioner and local attorney, and his merry band of Hope, first approached the City of Alcoa about opening a charter school. That didn't work out so well.

They then approached Blount County School Board. Denied.

They've asked for $1 million of Blount County's school budget, but have no plan. They can offer nothing more than is already offered by the Blount County school system.

Many thanks to the Blount County School Board for this wise decision.

Jul 17 2011

Just recently (June, 2011) the Alcoa post office made a change in services for holding mail. Now, if you put a hold on your mail and you want to pick up your held mail at the post office, you must go to the Maryville post office to pick it up.

You can setup an automatic deliver start up date, assuming you are confident you will be there to accept your mail. You can use the internet to schedule deliver start up again, assuming you have internet access, know how to use it, and are confident of internet security.

Seems odd. I'm sure it is a money-saving change. One less person working at the Alcoa post office? One person at the Maryville post office working harder?

Note, it's only about 3 miles from the Alcoa post office to the Maryville post office using Hall Road, Broadway, etc. Keeping in mind there are probably ten stop lights along the way. More people using more gas, instead of a local central Alcoa location to pick up mail on hold.

C'est la vie.

When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State Universtiy is looking for participants to contribute opinions on the new Double Crossover Diamond (diverging diamond) intersection at Bessemer and Middlesettments Roads.

This is the new road that goes under the US 129 bypass to/from K-Mart to Lowe's (or wherever).

The institute is trying to assess the operation and safety of the new intersection.

The meeting will be held at the City of Alcoa Service Center (not the Administration building off Hall Road). The City of Alcoa Service Center is located at:

725 Universal Street (off of Wright Road)

Take Springbrook Road, past the pool, past the duck pond, past the school. Take a left on Edison/Wright Road. The City of Alcoa Service Center will be on the right.

The institute has requested interested participants to contact Jessica Smith at or 919-515-8895. They said the deadline for participation was Thursday, June 16, but I contacted her yesterday, June 19th, and she said I was welcome to attend.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Shopper Columns

Local News

News Sentinel

Alt Weekly

State News

.GOV Updates

Wire Reports