Wes Stowers… Leadership in Action

A walk through the buildings known as Stowers Machinery Corporation shows the growth, the hard work done daily and the future, which is a constant of innovation. Most notable is that Wes Stowers is speaking to each employee, by name and that is the definition of this man. The humble and gracious President of Stowers Machinery Corporation guides the company as a family, it’s a team of which each member has significant value.

The Stowers family opened the company doors in 1960, Harry Stowers and his two older brothers, Eugene (Bud) and Dick purchased the R.L. Harris Caterpillar dealership that had been in business since the early 30’s. The winter of that first year was tough, they were rebuilding the dealership and establishing relationships with both the customers and employees. The Interstate Highway Program got started in East Tennessee. The Stowers team worked hard to build a reputation of excellent product support to stand out from the competition already known to the contractors working the highway program. Most of those contractors were not from East Tennessee and the Stowers brothers knew their success depended on offering more than just equipment.

The Interstate Highway Program would complete in the mid 70’s and Stowers innovation in service and forward thinking placed the company in a great position as the Arab Oil Embargo made the energy source of coal reserves in East Tennessee very valuable. Stowers Machinery was able to serve the exacting demands of the coal industry, doubling the size of its Knoxville facility, providing 24 hour service and machine component exchanges. This time of growth was followed by the recession of the 80’s causing the coal industry to collapse, it was a period of transition.

The innovation of Stowers Machinery Corporation in the middle 1960’s would again positively impact as they met the needs of the industrial firms of Alcoa, Bowater, Oak Ridge National Lab, the forestry and trucking industries. Readied involvement in the changing markets would become the signature company model.

It was also at the close of the 80’s that Wes Stowers, son of Harry, would become company President. Wes joined the company following a 12-year career in the Air Force.

Wes actually began working for the company part time on Saturdays and full time in the summer, in the warehouse and shop at the young age of 16. His childhood goal was to become a fighter pilot. A dream realized after graduating from the Air Force Academy, serving as a fighter pilot in the Air Force with stationing around the globe including Spain and Germany.

While at the academy Wes met Liz and together they build a life which included the addition of daughters, Lisa and Rachel, who were born while they served overseas with the United States Air Force. Wes Stowers returned to East Tennessee in 1988, taking the lead at Stowers Machinery Corporation with the welcomed guidance of his father, Harry Stowers, serving as Chairman until the patriarchs passing in 2007. “He gave me the tools, didn’t second guess my decisions but instead would ask me questions” Wes reflected, “sometimes it would be to understand and then sometimes for me to reach a needed change of thought.” Harry was a good mentor but also utilized a former caterpillar executive manager to guide Wes on being an effective leader.

The combination of teachings would prove success as the next 20 years Wes Stowers led Stowers Machinery Corporation to becoming an industry leader in almost every market. Believing and practicing daily the action of being a good steward of his employees, Wes took care of his people and built a team for long term. Stowers remarked, “During the boom time in 2005 – 2007…we were thinking how smart we are.” Then came the recession.

The start of 2008 brought the recession, seen at the beginning as something on the horizon, not leading to much concern. “We were expecting a 15% downturn.” Wes remembered. It was believed the company was doing well enough to survive the recession and while the effects were not immediate, the hit came hard with a 45% reduction in 2009. “Everything fell out, rentals, demand for machinery, everything.” said Wes, “difficult decisions had to be made.”

As an Air Force Fighter Pilot, Wes Stowers learned the importance of team, that nothing is a solo event. He had to rely on others to do his job effectively and respecting their hard work and time was key to success. This perspective would serve him and the entire team of Stowers well in the hard times. They developed a 12-month plan, a constant balancing act between wages, debt, profit and the bank. Constant communication with his Stowers team was the life bread of the transition.

The toughest part being the effects on his team and the uncertainity in the months ahead without the ability to reassure was overwhelming. “It hurt like hell.” Wes remarked. The pain is still visible on his face as he reflected on that time. Wes Stowers is a unique leader, a fatherly guidance to his over 300 employees.

The cut of extra spending, elimination of raises and yes, some unavoidable layoffs had to be implemented. Wes managed to hold true to promises made to his team and the constant communication softened the forced transitions. The business model proved the foundation to steady the company, they survived, they didn’t fall. Wes believes the lessons learned from that time have served as positives for the future. The company experienced greater innovation, more organization and opened doors to industries that otherwise would of remained closed. 

Making our way back to the administrative offices of Stowers Machinery, the displays throughout express company history as focal points. Forgetting not how you get somewhere is the foundation of maximizing the here and now. Just as he holds tight to the guidance given from that history, so too is his guiding the next generation, adding to the history. He has built a management team on his personal culture of good stewardship. Daily they work together to maintain the standards, cultivate new ideas and innovate the industry.

Nothing is slowing down for Wes Stowers just yet, he is still the necessary element of this well run machine, however, the many other elements in place provide Wes the ability to follow his philanthropic passions. Do not look for him on the golf course, that is not a hobby, look up to the skies…Flying is where he finds personal enjoyment. In true Wes fashion, there is a purpose to his passion as he flys vintage aircraft to give others the opportunity to see a real piece of history. “Ain’t Misbehavin” is  his P-51 Mustang built in the 1940’s and used by the Air Force in World War II as its long range fighter. In 2010, the plane was restored to the exact paint specifications as the original “Ain’t’ Misbehavin” flown by Capt. Jesse Frey in World War II. In addition, Wes serves on numerous business and charitable boards.

Wes Stowers’ culture of good stewardship to others and all things is clear in every detail of his life. The quiet man whose strength of will, faith and  discipline led Stowers Machinery Corporation through the tough times of the recession, is also the core of what maintains the company as an industry leader. His greatest advice to others is always put the backbone of your business first, the employees. What you give to your team they will give to others, leadership is paying it forward. Wes Stowers is living his legacy, not just leaving it behind.

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Unclaimed Baggage

North of Birmingham, West of Atlanta and South of Chattanooga is where you will find the most unique shopping destination: the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where lost suitcases finally settle to have their contents reappraised, cleaned, repriced for display. With over a shoppers that annually visit, it’s a must not miss extravaganza.

The store was founded in 1970 by Doyle Owens, when he borrowed a pickup truck and $300 to head for Washington, D.C., where he purchased unclaimed bags from the bus industry. The selling started on top of card tables from his home, growing into the opening of a store that today is more than 40,000 square feet and occupies a city block.

The finds are cultivated from airlines, bus lines and train carriers from unclaimed baggage and cargo. Doyle Owens’ son, Bryan, purchased the business in 1995 and made getting national media attention for the store a priority. Everyone from“The Today Show” to Oprah have featured the store on their shows. The store itself is much like a typical suitcase with clothes, shoes and jewelry taking centerstage. A significant choosing of books, plenty of eyewear and large selection of electronics and sporting goods are highlighted.

There are items you wouldn’t expect to find like a suit of armor, a mummified falcon and a Jim Henson puppet-goblin from the cult film Labyrinth. And the bling found will blow your mind: a 5.8-carat diamond set in a platinum band that was found packed in a sock, a 40.95-carat natural emerald and a platinum Rolex valued at over $64,000.

According to the Unclaimed Baggage Center website, about 5% of unclaimed bags are reclaimed. The airlines pay the lost claims and then sell those bags to the center. The lost bags arrive by tractor-trailer to the processing facility to be sorted and priced. All clothing is dry-cleaned and laundered at their in-house facility, the largest in Alabama. Fine jewelry is cleaned and appraised.

Electronic equipment is tested and cleared of personal data. The best stuff gets onto the retail floor with remaining items being donated through their Reclaimed for Good program, helping people around the world.

It’s not just about shopping. It’s a wonderful experience from the Guest Services to the Starbucks cafe to the smiling, helpful associates. You can reserve a personal shopper, a ninety-minute session with one of their professional style advisors to build your profile and help you shop the best of all

the clothing and accessories. There is custom shipping that will take the hassle out of getting those fancy finds home. They even have a plan for the furry ones who can be cared for while you shop at Cutie Petooties for $10 a day, located only five minutes away. Most fun is that daily you can join in the action with the Baggage Experience. At 2:30 each day, a shopper is chosen to experience opening an unprocessed bag; you never know what you might find! The Unclaimed Baggage Center is located in Scottsboro, Alabama, a picturesque town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the banks of the Tennessee River. It is the perfect road trip break. Enjoy the shopping experience, and then head an hour south to Huntsville to check out the U.S. Space and Rocket Center or north to experience all the fun of Chattanooga. The final home of lost luggage in the middle of the best road trip route all the year-round!


9:00 – 6:00 CT


8:00 – 7:00 CT

Closed Sundays,


and Christmas

509 W. Willow Street

Scottsboro, Alabama 35768

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Premier Eyecare: Why Wear Sunglasses?

Everyone knows that sunglasses are recommended.  However, have you ever stopped to consider why?  Some people are very sensitive to sunlight and cannot imagine being out in the sun without sunglasses.  Others feel that they are unnecessary and may even interfere with clear vision.  The truth is, the sun emits harmful rays.  Let’s look at how the sun negatively affects our eyes:

Ultraviolet light is high energy light that can cause damage to human tissue.  UV affects mostly the eyelids and the front half of the eyes.  Cataracts, skin cancer, corneal and conjunctival damage, and other chronic conditions of the eye can be linked to UV exposure.

Blue light is a high energy light, slightly longer in wavelength compared to UV, that can cause damage to the back half of the eyes.  Changes in the retina, especially the macula, can be linked to blue light exposure.  With the increase of electronics and LED lighting, blue light has recently become more discussed in the media as something to be concerned about at any age.

Glare is a common problem that is caused by wavelengths of light being scattered and washing out color saturation.  This is of special concern while driving.  Fishermen and photographers have known for years about the benefits of polarization.  As more people experience polarization in their sunglasses, it has become associated with high quality sunwear.  Anyone who drives a vehicle will see the benefits of polarized lenses.

Sensitivity and eyestrain often go untreated because many just accept it as normal.  Individuals with blue or green eyes will have more sensitivity to the sun than those with brown eyes.  The reason for this is that those with blue or green eyes have less pigment in the eyes.  A degenerative disease known as macular degeneration is more prevalent with people who have less pigment.  Even though everyone should be concerned about sun damage to their eyes, those who have sensitive eyes tend to be more inclined to see the necessity of wearing sunglasses.

When shopping for sunglasses, what are some things to consider?  Sunglasses can be bought just about anywhere.  The quality of sunglasses varies greatly as does the price.  Poor quality sunglasses will claim 100% UV protection, but that is about all they provide.  Poor materials and manufacturing will lead to discomfort and eyestrain.  High quality sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV, blue light, and glare.  Optical grade sunglasses will also enhance your vision.  Some of the sunglass companies have their own labs making it possible to get their patented lenses in your prescription.  Maui Jim, Costa, and Ray Ban are a few of the most well-known companies which have this capability.

The style of sunglasses should not be overlooked.  Who doesn’t want to look great in their sunglasses?  The quality of sunglasses can be all over the board and it is difficult to know what qualities to look for in selecting your next pair.  How is one to know what sunglasses designer to choose?

As eye care providers, we recommend relying on those who are in the business of protecting your eyes and enhancing your vision.  Optometric physicians and licensed dispensing opticians are educated and skilled in providing answers to questions about vision and eye health.  Some fashion designers will license their name to a sunglasses manufacturer without consideration of the quality.  When you select a pair of sunglasses, it is the quality of the frames and the optical clarity of the lenses that we pay attention to the most.  Fashion is very important in your decision, but the comfort of the frame and the visual comfort and optical quality of the lenses should rank at the top of your checklist.

If you are looking for a high quality pair of sunglasses that will enhance your vision, protect your eyes, and fit properly on your face, look no further than Premier Eyecare located in the heart of Farragut.  We have highly skilled licensed opticians who are more than happy to assist you in picking out a great pair of sunglasses.  Since we are also an eye care facility, we can provide you with an eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and that we help you see the best that you can out of your new sunglasses.  Enjoy the coming months in the sun and make sure you don’t go another season wishing you had a great pair of sunglasses. Call us today or stop in and check out our huge selection of Maui Jim, Costa, Ray Ban, and many more!   865.966.0100


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Our Family Serving Your Family

It is one of the most difficult aspects of life, to part with a loved one. Often it is a process that takes time, and our goodbyes are slow and painful. Often it is sudden, giving us a shock of grief that seems almost surreal, leaving us wishing but for only one more precious moment. Whatever the case may be, letting go is never easy, but thanks to Click Funeral Homes, setting arrangments for your loved one is. Click Funeral Homes is like no other in the industry; here, the dedicated staff strive to bring compassionate consultation and flexible options to the family. 

The Click Funeral Home was built on a simple idea: our family serving your family. The Click family legacy began in 1965 when Glenn and Polly Click decided to open up a funeral home in the downtown Knoxville area. Glenn Click had been in the business all his life, so he and his wife decided to dedicate themselves to aiding other folks in the community with not only their funeral arrangements, but with the grieving process as well. Now, Glenn and Polly didn’t start out with a lot, and they sure didn’t know much about advertising, but they did know one thing, and that was how to serve others. For years, they went door to door telling people about their new business and how grateful they would be to make them a part of the Click family. Their dedication to the community paid off, and they had enormous success. Needless to say, Glenn and Polly’s children were raised in the business and took over the running of things for a new generation built on the same moral and practical principles set down by Glenn and Polly. Today, Click Funeral Home is still owned by Glenn’s son, Larry Click, and still provides wonderful service to an even broader area, now bringing locations to Farragut, Knoxville, Lenoir City, Tellico Village, and Loudon.

At Click Funeral Homes, you are treated like family. The folks here take care of every detail of your loved one’s service and give you the options you need to give them the servicethat best exemplifies them. A thoughtful and respectful staff meets you at the door right when you walk in, putting you and your loved one’s wishes as their top priority and making the most difficult of times seem a little less overwhelming.  Burials, open casket viewing, cremation, graveside services and so many more– no matter what the wishes of the deceased or family members are, Click Funeral Homes is there to accomodate. They even have a new “Green Burial” option, for those who wish to be buried in a more eco-friendly manner. All of these options can be viewed on Click’s website, www.clickfh.com. Here, you can also view obituaries and see many of their beautiful facilities, including both chapels and multiple viewing areas. The website even has a grief support link, Click’s way of making sure that even after the funeral is over, their service continues. These  many values coupled with Click’s affordable nature put them amongst the top funeral homes in East Tennessee. 

Milestones Event Center

Having had enormous success for their dedicated service, Click Funeral Homes has recently purchased some top-of-the-line facilities in order to broaden the available options for the family’s grieving process. Their chapels, both simple and elegant, create a beautiful setting for loved ones to be viewed and respected. For those more inclined to a less formal, casual setting to celebrate a loved one’s life, Click’s Milestones Event Center is a wonderful option. This facility, located just off Kingston Pike in Farragut, was designed in order to give the family a customizable setting. Catering options, celebration of life themed decorum and any other personal touch that the family wishes to surround themselves with are highly encouraged. Whether a family wants to bring a home-cooked meal or order in from their favorite restaurant, the Milestones Event Center is more than accommodating. 

Even though losing a loved one can seem unbearable, the folks at Click Funeral Home’s dedication to respect, compassion and adherence to the family’s wishes help shoulder the burden and bring families together to honor those who have loved and those who have been loved. And in a world that seems so very superficial, it’s nice to know that there are still folks out there that genuinely care. Contact them at their Farragut location at (865) 671-6100 or email them with any questions at info@clickfh.com.

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Lee Grant Johnson

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.- 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

Truth is, as told in the Bible and shared by Pastors around the world, we are handpicked, created to bring glory to God. For Lee Grant Johnson “Houser” of Madisonville, it was a lifetime of being handpicked by both his earthly connections and his Savior.

Cecil and Dude Johnson were very special people with big hearts. After adopting their first son, Terry, they walked the heartache no parent should as he passed on to grow up in heaven. With faith in their dream of children, they opened their hearts adopting sons, Ray and Guy, then expanded their hearts once more to hand-pick Lee Johnson, a baby brother to complete their family. Raising the three boys to be honest, punctual or don’t bother showing up,  work hard, laugh much and love all. All of those character traits existed and thrived in the youngest Johnson boy. Reminded often by both parents, Lee and his brothers were chosen, cared for, loved beyond measure and given a foundation of knowing the importance of being embraced by another. Lee’s life is a legacy of embracing others, loving much and yes, laughing even more.

Growing up in Monroe County, the love for his friends and classmates at Madisonville High School is memorable. In fact, he is the infamous “Houser.” The class of 1980 was and remains forever changed by life of the party, Lee Johnson, who never missed a moment to be in the middle of it all, hand-picked by classmates as favorite. Naturally, he studied at Hiwassee College and loved the University of Tennessee Volunteers just down the road. Lee was a huge fan with a lifelong dream to have a bright orange Harley Davidson. His life is a legacy of being proud of his roots, loving his friends and being the greatest Vol fan!

Along with loving his family and friends, it was his love of country that would make his legacy a part of American history. Following in the proud footsteps of his father, Cecil Johnson, a U.S. Navy World War II veteran, Lee served in the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. It is readily identified by its nickname, The Old Guard. Each member of The Old Guard is hand-picked to guard the President of the United States (Ronald Reagan at the time), the White House, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and perform ceremonial funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The regiment is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army, having been first organized as the First American Regiment in 1784, being the official ceremonial unit of the U.S. Army since 1948. Lee’s life is a legacy of service to country, something he honored for those that served in the past, alongside him and currently.

With a foundation of love for family and country, it was an acknowledgement of God’s love that made Lee personally proud. He shared often about being hand-picked by his Heavenly Father and lived a life of gratitude. With the heart of a servant, Lee never met a stranger and made sure there was a smile or laugh shared. It was a good time, all the time for the vibrant and contagious personality that lit up the room with positive energy. Lee’s life is a legacy of letting his light shine to show that love hand-picked all of us for glory if we allow ourselves to be embraced.

It was that embracing love of God, family and friends that would sustain Lee Johnson during his valiant life battle. In September of 2017, Lee was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Small Cell Adenocarcinoma of the lung. The warrior readied for the fight, armed with his constant smile, positive outlook and unmoving faith. It is known today that most did not know about his diagnosis at first due to Lee always presenting as the same fun-loving, smiling “Houser” they had always known. Every three weeks, his older brother Ray would pick Lee up in the early morning hours, drive him to Vanderbilt for treatments and make the return trip home. It was a precious time of togetherness for the brothers, moments that time nor space can erase. The aggressive cancer, long trips for treatment and medication never dimmed the famous grin. Lee’s life is a legacy of fighting to the finish with constant joy of heart.

In the wee hours of the morning on Monday, February 19, 2019, Lee was hand-picked for heavenly wings and a glorious reunion with his beloved parents and the oldest brother he had never known. Lee’s life is a legacy of loving dogs, collecting Mickey Mouse memorabilia, loving Hooters for the hot wings, playing with his nieces & nephews, enjoying his dream job riding tractors all day for the city of Madisonville, working at the local golf course, being a best friend, being a baby brother, being a U.S Army Veteran, honoring all military personnel, and being the biggest UT Vols Fan!

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Hiwassee College

It is the 60 acres of unmatched beauty with magnificent trees and mountain views that capture your attention, it is the peace felt as you take in the surroundings… it is a special place. Each building rich with history. If they could talk, oh, the stories that could be shared. Every square foot of this historical land is deeply rooted in the people of Monroe County. With a history that spans over 170 years, it is Hiwassee College.

The name Hiwassee is derived from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi”, meaning “meadow place at the foot of the hills,” which is reflective of the college location at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Hiwassee’s first president, Reverend Robert Doak, also served as its senior professor and the only college-educated staff member. Students entered at around age fourteen and graduated in their late teens or early twenties. David M. Key, Hiwassee’s first graduate, went on to be the Postmaster General under President Rutherford B. Hayes. The Honorable Albert H. Roberts, graduate 1889, would later become the Governor of Tennessee from 1919 to 1921.

Back in the day, Hiwassee College housed an elementary school taught by the student teachers. Charlie Brakebill was one of those students. He fondly remembers the three-room school and his student teachers. Charlie has a lifetime of memories at the Hiwassee campus. During his time at the elementary school, he was rewarded with a 1lb box of chocolate-covered cherries; immediately consuming the sweets, it was the box that remained on display in his home until heading to college. “I walked over 2 miles daily to Hiwassee for school,” reflected Charlie, “coming home so hungry, telling my Mom it was from the walking.” Mrs. Brakebill didn’t believe her son’s story, discovering that Charlie was sharing his sandwich each day with a friend who never had a lunch.“Mom never said anything to me,” said Charlie. “From that day until I was finished with school, there were always two sandwiches.” The 93-year-old native of Madisonville entered the U.S. Army at 18 and served three years in Europe during World War II—including at Omaha Beach, retiring as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force in 1967.

Hiwassee College is a fixture in the community, with an impact that reaches beyond the campus and the educational offerings. The grounds of the campus and buildings have always been available for community events. The Barker Learning Center held the commencement services for Madisonville High School, and annually the Monroe Area Council for the Arts presents a world-class performing arts series at the Hiwassee Performing Arts Center.

Under the leadership of President Dr. Robin Tricoli, the college regained accreditation in 2013 (lost in 2008) with reaffirmation in 2018. Enrollment increased, as well as the priority of community commitment. Working closely with Lisa Bingham, the Hiwassee H.O.P.E. program was founded. This program provided students, within or aging out of the foster care system a home, three meals, financial aid and a support parent enabling them to achieve higher education. Proceeds from Monroe Life Magazine’s Celebration of HOPE Balloon Festival, held on the campus, provided the funding. When the program caught the attention of Hiwassee Alumni, Jim Henry, then Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, it became a fully funded government program and today is offered in post-secondary schools throughout Tennessee.

In addition to community and education, Hiwassee College has excelled in sports with National Championship appearances in Baseball, Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball. The Hiwassee Tigers gave opportunities for students to play their sport on a collegiate level while obtaining their

education. Carolyn Bush-Roddy, 2019 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and 1975 Pan-American Games Gold Medalist, enjoyed that opportunity. She finished her playing career with the Dallas Diamonds of Women’s Professional Basketball League. In 1997, she returned to Hiwassee as Head Coach of the Lady Tigers until 2000. The Hiwassee College Athletics Department was diverse with Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Golf, Shooting, Volleyball, Cross-Country, Softball and Cheerleading.

Hiwassee College has a rich heritage. The liberal arts college is affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The core values and foundation of faith are the pride of Hiwassee alumni; it is the lifelong connection that brings so many of them back to the campus. Brittany Tipton, class of 2012 valedictorian, returned eight months after graduation to be Resident Director and Equestrian Center Manager. “From the moment I started working, President Tricoli pushed me to go for my Master in Equine Science,” said Brittany. “I was accepted to UTK’s graduate school and achieved it. The plan was to return to work in April.” She did return to work at the Equestrian Center as planned; however, now it is to manage the first-class boarding and training facility until it is sold. “I was speechless,” expressed Brittany upon learning her beloved Hiwassee would closed. “It’s a part of me.” The Hiwassee College Board of Trustees voted to close the institution at the end of the spring semester. The announcement came in late March, citing financial instability. In an official statement from the communications department:

“We are proud of our historic mission of educating students for 170 years in the United Methodist tradition of John Wesley…Hiwassee College’s legacy will survive through those who attended the college and who continue to lead and serve…changes in demographics, our rural location, and declining enrollment have combined to produce an unsustainable economic model. Our current full-time equivalent enrollment is 225 students… the community, our alumni, and this region have all been a vital part of supporting our mission and campus. Our faculty and staff have been supportive through the years and we are grateful for their commitment to Hiwassee College and Christian higher education…We wish to thank all of those whose prayers and support have been so meaningful for so long.”

Although the college is closing, the legacy will live on with those positively impacted by Hiwassee College. The final graduates walked across the stage in May. It is a new start for them and the finale of the historic school. Eric Wolfe, student body president and graduate, will have the unique legacy of being the first Biology major to graduate in 60 years and also the last one in school history. This reality for Hiwassee College was heartbreaking for students, alumni, parents, faculty, community and the entirety of Monroe County.

According to national reports, colleges are closing or merging at an accelerating rate, from about eight per year between 2004 and 2014 to an estimated 20 per year moving forward, with small private colleges particularly vulnerable. It was a business decision for Hiwassee College as it faced an enrollment of 225 with a sustained need for at least 500. As the pool of college-bound students shrinks, elite schools will recruit more from populations once left to the smaller regional colleges. Sweet Briar College, a women’s liberal arts college about 12 miles north of Lynchburg, Virginia, had the fiercely loyal alumnae bring their school back from extinction. But there are not enough alumni and, increasingly, not enough students to replicate that everywhere. Sadly, many communities are experiencing the same loss of institutions that is currently being grieved

in Monroe County.

It is a harsh reality that we wish did not happen anywhere, but especially our Monroe County, our Hiwassee College. The experience has also brought reflection into a time of our lives somewhat forgotten. When asked, Charles Brakebill was unable to express the hurting within his heart on the closing. Brittany Tipton shared about finding comfort in the memories, stories being shared of Hiwassee greatness. Lisa Bingham hopes that something will revive the beautiful campus and continue providing educational opportunities in the area. The responses are varied, the grief at different stages; however, they are the voices for the buildings that cannot talk, they are sharing the stories of those 60 acres, they were a part of the history and, along with the countless others, they will continue the legacy of Hiwassee College.

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Hawks Cay

The Florida Keys are the subject of much folklore, a romantic yet mysterious destination located at the southern tip of the United States. With non-stop flights from Knoxville to South Florida, it’s also an easy getaway. Just book a flight, rental car and head down the Overseas Highway to Ernest Hemingway’s paradise.
The Overseas Highway, US Hwy 1 in Florida, is one of America’s most scenic roads. Traveling through the Keys is a breathtaking trip. At approximately mile marker 61 between Conch and Grassy Keys on the island of Duck Key sits a landmark of the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort. You will find clear turquoise water, endless sunshine, great fishing and abundant relaxation. Recently, the landmark oceanside resort reopened after completing a $50 million dollar renovation post Hurricane Irma.
Hawks Cay Resort, recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Award and a member of the Preferred Hotel Group Lifestyle Collection, is a 60-acre, tropical destination boasting 177 guest rooms and 250 two- and three-bedroom villas, a full-service marina, six restaurants, saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools, kid and teen clubs and spa.
It is also the only resort in the mainland United States offering free viewing of trained dolphins. Guests have the unique opportunity to encounter and interact with bottlenose dolphins in this marine mammal’s natural environment.
Located in the premier fishing destination of the Middle Florida Keys, The Hawks Cay Marina is home to the most knowledgeable and friendly fishing captains and guides with a complete fleet of both inshore and offshore charter boats.
Hawks Cay Resort is a tropical destination, easily accessible by car, boat or plane yet feels worlds away from everyday life. Alongside the aquamarine water of the Atlantic Ocean, guests of all ages will find fun and relaxation at its best.

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Get Creative this 4th of July Holiday

Patriotic Popsicles
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup vanilla flavored yogurt Reusable Popsicle Mold
Place mold into the freezer while preparing ingredients.
Divide the yogurt into two pourable containers (with a spout). Thin the yogurt slightly with water, not too much, the goal is simply to make easier to pour. Distribute the strawberries into one container and the blueberries into the other, mix gently.
Pour into the popsicle mold, using as directed. Put the mold in the freezer and freeze until firm, at least an hour, or more. It is recommended to keep the popsicles in the mold until ready to serve. If making large quantities, wrap each popsicle in wax paper and put back in the freezer. For best use make the same day not in advance.
All-American Hamburger
There is a historic dispute about who served the first hamburger on a bun in America, however, no one disputes it’s the favorite
for all Independence Day Cookouts! While we dare not tap into the famous seasonings and grilling practices of the cookout
masters, we do want to give a little creative fun suggestion.
Make your Independence Day Cookout unforgettably favored with an All-American Hamburger Bar. Compliment the grill masterpieces with toppings for all taste buds to enjoy. Display your ingredients like a buffet, the colors will be vibrant and selections so much fun!
Start with the standard condiments: mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato and pickle. Add selections like spicy mustard, barbeque sauce, avocado, bacon, or onion rings. Let your imagination run wild and put it out there for guests to create a one-of-a-kind hamburger. It’s like a firework display for their taste buds.
Firecracker Strawberry Limeade
Refreshing summertime beverage perfect
for all guests and looks great on display too!
4 cups Lime Juice
1 1/2 cups Water
2 ups Simple Syrup (make your own by dissolving 2 ups sugar with 2 cups water)
20-25 sliced Strawberries
Place strawberries in blender with simple syrup, blend until strawberries are pureed. Mix with lime juice, serve over ice with desired garnish of lime slice. If you want to add some fizz- splash a topping of Sprite to the glass.

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Dog Days of Summer

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the unofficial authority on all things folklore and weather-related, the phrase “dog days” refers to the hottest time of the year. However, for those of us in Knoxville, we present a new meaning, a better meaning. Throughout the year, including those hot ones, our furry friends can enjoy the East Tennessee weather and hospitality right along with us. A number of Knoxville businesses cater to the four-legged family members with special seating that includes water and treats.

Dog friendly patios are available in numerous locations throughout the area, over a 100 restaurants welcome dogs at their outdoor tables. Summertime is the best time to treat yourself and your pet to some of Knoxville’s top outdoor dining destinations. Whether it’s a weekend brunch or casual dinner, there are plenty of four-legged friendly spots. Enjoy a delicious array of local flavors and help unleash your pets’ inner social butterfly as you chill out on the patio and catch the cool summer breeze. For help finding the right place, browse the list of our favorite dog friendly restaurants. Bone Appetite!

Knoxville’s Dog Friendly Patios

Tomato Head Market Square

Rita’s Italian Ice

Cool Beans Bar and Grill



Blue Coast Grill & Bar

Barley’s Taproom

Cardin’s Drive-In

The French Market Creperie

Stir Fry Cafe


Calhoun’s On The River

Blue Slip Winery & Bistro

Alliance Brewing Company

Balter Beerworks

Blackhorse Pub

Downtown Grill & Brewery

Elkmont Exchange

Schulz Brau Brewing Company

Smoky Mountain Brewery

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Decorating Den Interiors: Kozar Design Team

“Design Professional Sandy Kozar’s favorite day is when they head out of their working studio on Lovell Road in Knoxville to bring that new look to her client’s home. It’s known in the industry as installation day, the project finale.  “We ask them to leave during the install, then upon their return, the smiles and excitement is our priceless reward,” Sandy says, “it’s the best part of my job.”

Opening in 2010, Decorating Den Interiors in Knoxville continues to provide unmatched customer service with options that allow the client to lead the design best suited for them. “We offer our clients fine furniture, case goods, accessories, lighting, floor and wall coverings and custom window treatments,” Sandy explains, “then bring samples directly to their home, provide in-home consultation and personally oversee projects to installation.”

The enjoyment in helping someone live a quality of life in their home or office space, being a part of that client’s good feeling is the constant reminder that Sandy is doing what she is meant to do. Growing up in Pennsylvania, the corporate world would be her first professional focus with motherhood changing it to family first and as an adult she returned to college where a watercolor class brought the passion for design. Over the years, it was a passion fueled by setting 9 different homes as they moved with her husband’s job. The move to Tennessee brought the Kozar’s closer to extended family and with a desire to open a business, the award of a Decorating Den franchise was the perfect fit. Nine years later, she is still in love with every minute of the design process and especially the building of client relationships that last well beyond the projects.

Recently, Sandy Kozar was honored for business achievement at her company’s 50th anniversary annual conference held in Las Vegas. She received a Prism Award, that put her among the top 20 franchises within Decorating Den Interiors, North America’s largest home furnishings and interior design franchise business. Sandy was also spotlighted in the 2018 Success Panel, a select group of owners that share how they have achieved their success to serve as inspiration for other owners.

It is not the awards or even being an inspiration to others that Sandy Kozar takes pride in or talks about, that is not what it is all about for her and her team. “The relationship with my clients, gearing a design to how they like to live, just making it convenient for them,” expresses Sandy,

“it is an intimate connection being created with them as we work together toward the finale, hopefully exceeding their expectations.”

For the Kozar Design Team it is all about customer service, from the initial, in-home complimentary appointment, they listen to your design dreams and create a customized design. The best part is that they handle all the details from measuring to ordering to installation helping to make your life easier while saving you valuable time and money.

Make your home all that it can be, contact Sandy Kozar today and make your home more beautiful one room at a time. Visit https://sandykozar.decoratingden.com today to learn more or call them at (865) 392-6222.”.

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