Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Phase I of Cumberland Avenue project finished; celebration now planned

The city will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of Phase I of the reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue at 4 p.m. Jan. 6.

The event, which will be hosted by Mayor Madeline Rogero, City Councilman Nick Pavlis and other Council members, will take place in the grassy area just north of the Three Rivers Rambler depot, 2560 University Commons Way; parking available in the lot south of the depot.

Phase I of the reconstruction of Cumberland Avenue, between the Alcoa Highway ramps and 22nd Street, has ended – on time and under budget. Improving traffic flow was a key objective of the Phase I work. Synchronized traffic flow at Metron Center Way and a dedicated turn lane onto northbound Alcoa Highway have lessened decades-long issues with congestion.

Phase II work is underway in the section of Cumberland Avenue between 22nd and 17th streets. Scheduled to be completed in August 2017, the reconstruction will change the existing four-lane street on the eastern end of the corridor to a three-lane cross section with a raised median and left-turn lanes at intersections.

In both the Phase I and Phase II work, Cumberland Avenue sidewalks are being widened, and utility infrastructure relocated and upgraded, to create a more attractive, safer, pedestrian-friendly corridor.

County, state, clerk split account

Remember that $2.6 million unknown account that Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Mike Hammond found when he took office and the ol' blog broke the story?

You can read about it RIGHT SMACK HERE.

Well, a little update.

The state, of course, wanted a cut.

So, after almost a year of discussion, the state agreed to take $451K for what's called litigation taxes and some interest, and the county gets $1.2 million. The clerk's office will get the rest to cover salary.

Siler out of Knox Co. Commish race

Cheri Siler, who jumped into the local political arena not too long ago when she unsuccessfully challenged Richard Briggs for a state Senate seat, has "suspended" her campaign, for the Knox County Commission 2nd District seat, according to an email she sent yesterday.

She said:
To the citizens of the second district of Knox County:

It has been a dream and goal of mine to serve you as a county commissioner for Knox County.
After careful consideration, however, I am suspending my campaign for county commission effective immediately. 
My family comes first, and right now I need to focus on my role as wife, mother, and daughter to those who come first in my life.

Thank you for your understanding and your support.
Cheri Siler
With Siler out of the running that pretty much paves the way for her opponent, Democrat Laura Kildare to face the winner of the March 1 Republican Primary - either Michele Carringer or John Fugate in the early August General Election.

Note, however, that because Siler has withdrawn after the official deadline to withdraw her name will still appear on the ballot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Commish rezones land for Midway

The Knox County Commission approved changes Monday night to property off Midway Road, clearing the way for a proposed business park site.

The commission voted to change the sector plan and zoning for the property, which has been owned by the Development Corporation of Knox County since 2006.

The Development Corporation previously tried to introduce a business park to this area several years ago, but the plan did not have enough support.

At the meeting Monday night, residents of the area surrounding the proposed site voiced their opposition to the plans.

“I was disappointed, and I'll tell you the reason is because they've asked for community input,” said Ed Reid, a resident of the area. “Every time, including tonight, lots of people show up opposed to it, and it means nothing to them."

Those opposed to the business park idea cited concerns that the land has sinkholes and runoff issues, and it would bring unwanted traffic to a rural residential neighborhood.

Representatives from the Development Corporation spoke at the meeting, and said the land fits the criteria for a business park. The representatives also said a new business park would help bring more businesses to Knox County and expand existing ones.

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.

Commission declines to waste time opposing Supreme Court ruling

More than a dozen people dressed in red showed up in support of same-sex marriage during the Knox County Commission meeting.

All this after a Knoxville man who identified himself to the board as Mark Rivera thought it would be a great idea to introduce a last minute resolution opposing same-sex marriage.

It went over like a lead balloon.

Because - oh, I don't know - maybe because the commission's opinion has no bearing on the United State Supreme Court's ruling in June that says same-sex spouses have a constitutional right to wed.

But, hey, if you got nothing to do . . . 

Commish rejects superintendent's contract, but it doesn't matter

Jim McIntyre
Knox County commissioners voted at their regular Monday meeting to reject the contract of Knox County Schools superintendent Jim McIntyre.

That vote, however, was only symbolic.

Nine of 11 Knox County commissioners voted not to approve the contract. Commissioners Sam

McKenzie and Amy Broyles voted to approve it.

"We're kind of making the rules up as we go along, unfortunately," McKenzie said after the vote.

In fact, the item never should've come to a vote, McKenzie said.

A long-standing agreement -- called a consent decree -- between Knox County Commission and the

Board of Education says commissioners can't tell the school board how to spend its appropriated money.

School board members voted last month to approve McIntyre's contract, so all the commission legally could do was pass it.

"That vote just came up two for, nine against. What does that mean? It means absolutely nothing," McKenzie said. "I think we are - in spirit - disregarding the consent decree, and I don't think this last process was correct."

The "no" vote Monday, therefore, was symbolic.

The move came after county law director Bud Armstrong last week declared the contract unenforceable.

RELATED: Law Director: Superintendent's contract 'unenforceable' 

State law limits superintendents' contracts to four years, and Armstrong said this new contract effectively adds two years to McIntyre's existing four-year contract.

RELATED: Sanger blasts Armstrong over contract notation; law director counters

Armstrong cited a 2001 opinion from the Tennessee attorney general on a nearly identical case. In it, the AG's office said, a school board may not extend beyond four years the term of its contract with the director of schools. To do so, the opinion says, ties the hands of future board members.

The law does, however, allow school boards to renew a superintendent's four-year contract. The opinion then goes on to differentiate between extending and renewing.

"Black’s Law Dictionary defines renewal as '(T)he re-creation of a legal relationship or the replacement of an old contract with a new contract, as opposed to a mere extension of a previous relationship or contract,'" the opinion says.

Read that full opinion HERE.

For now, McIntyre's board-approved, commission-rejected contract is set to go into effect the first of the new year.

McIntyre was at Monday's meeting but declined to comment on the results of the vote.

Friday, December 18, 2015

No one withdrew from 2016 primaries

The March elections are officially set, since no one officially withdrew.

The deadline for a candidate to have his or her name removed from the ballot for next year's local primaries was noon Thursday.

None of the almost three dozens who qualified to run for the open 13 seats did.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Arnett: $345K collected in taxes

Foster Arnett
Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett Jr. told the county’s Audit Committee on Thursday that his office has collected $345,815 in outstanding hotel and motel taxes that had gone uncollected during the past two years.

He said he has about $130,000 left to go after.

The discussion comes more than six months after an internal audit report said at least a dozen local hotels and motels owed the county an estimated $476,000 from the past two years alone, and that four hotels alone could owe an additional $255,000 "for periods outside the audit scope."

County lodgings are expected to charge a 5 percent occupancy tax that is used to fund tourism-related operations and programs in Knox County.

Arnett’s office is charged with collecting the money.

The county clerk took heavy criticism from other elected leaders, including many on the Knox County Commission, after the audit report was made public. Since then he’s sent letters to hotel and motel owners and also met with them to collect the outstanding taxes.

“There’s just a few left,” he said. “There is one that is fairly huge, but there’s a little here and there (from other motels).”

Arnett said he spoke with one hotel owner on Wednesday and “we made it very clear what their deadlines are.”

“We are following the law and working very closely with the law department to send out notifications,” he said. “We’re on the right track, I think.”

State law prevents the county from releasing the names of those who owe money, although state leaders are looking into changing that.

KCS Superintendent's contract not enforceable, law director says

Jim McIntyre
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre’s recently approved contract is not enforceable because it was an “extension” of an existing four-year contract – something not permissible under state law, according to the county’s top attorney.

Citing a Dec. 10 letter from the Office of the Attorney General, Knox County Law Director Richard “Bud” Armstrong said the school board cannot “extend” a contract for a school system’s superintendent beyond four years until it concludes.

In addition, Armstrong said, the school board cannot even “renew” McIntyre’s contract until it expires, which isn’t until Dec. 2017.

“Everything has to remain stable until it’s time to renew,” he told WBIR 10News.
Bud Armstrong

Armstrong’s opinion comes in the wake of the Knox County Board of Education agreeing on Nov. 30 to extend the McIntyre’s contract another two years from 2017 to December 2019. The extension also included a 2 percent raise, bumping his salary to $227,256.

The contract was sent to the Knox County Commission where officials are supposed to talk about it next Monday. Before it hit the commission desk, however, Armstrong wrote the word "not" before the phrase "legal as to form and correctness” on the signature page of the contract.

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Regal Entertainment's proposed move to waterfront jumps final hurdle

Regal Entertainment's much anticipated move from Halls to South Knoxville was approved Tuesday by its new landlord. It's a vote that's being called "a huge step" by board members.

The move from Halls to the South Knoxville waterfront was first announced in October. 

In a special meeting Tuesday night, the board of directors of the Industrial Development Board, which in the deal will serve as Regal's landlord, approved a resolution that allows the board to begin their oversight duties.

"The resolution tonight gave the IDB directors authority to go ahead and act as the landlord and enter into this lease agreement with Regal Cinemas," said Christi Branscom, chief operations officer and deputy to the Knoxville mayor.

Todd Napier, board member and president of the Development Corporation of Knox County, said the deal would've had trouble moving forward without the board's approval.

“Without the IDB board's approval there’s not the mechanism for all of these things to happen. For the receiving of funds from the city and the state," said Napier.

The affirmative vote secures the nearly $8 million Regal will receive in state and city incentives.

"It was a big step. There are still some negotiations going on and some detailed components of that," said Napier.

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.

Eight bid to build middle schools

Eight developers submitted pitches to build two Knox County middle schools – one in the Gibbs community and the other in the Hardin Valley area.

The bids, called requests for proposals, were due noon Tuesday.

The county is seeking a “design-build team” that would construct and deliver on a ‘turn key’ basis the two schools, meaning both would be ready for students on opening day without county involvement.

“I’m very happy we received such a high level of interest from the private sector in building these schools,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “This amount of competition will help ensure that both the Gibbs and Hardin Valley middle schools are built to the highest quality, while also saving taxpayers’ money. I look forward to seeing construction begin sometime in the coming year.”

Rest of story and a list of the bidders, RIGHT HERE.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Law director questions legality of KCS superintendent's new contract

Jim McIntyre
So apparently at least one Knox County School Board member is upset that county Law Director Richard "Bud" Armstrong is questioning the legality of the school system superintendent's new contract/contract extension.

I'm not sure why.

Armstrong and other board members during the Nov. 30 meeting in which the board ramrodded the two-year extension through said that there could be some problem with the contract's language.

In fact, it was suggested that the panel should consult the state before approving it.

But, no, they didn't. Now the law director - who represents the entire county government (he tries to prevent us from getting sued and breaking the law) - has erred on the side of caution.

Here's what BOE vice chair Tracie Sanger, who voted to approve the contract, said in a released statement: 
"Law Director Bud Armstrong has hand-written the word "not" before the phrase "legal as to form and correctness" on the signature page of Dr. McIntyre's approved employment contract, which has now been posted to the County Commission's public meeting agenda. Making this change without consulting or informing the School Board is a serious breach of trust, and represents the worst kind of passive aggressive political games.  As the School Board's attorney, the Law Director should seek to better represent his client.  It is hard to believe in and trust an attorney that has such little experience, shows inconsistency with his opinions, and portrays the appearance of having a political agenda."
To reiterate: The school board on Nov. 30 ramrodded a two-year proposal to extend Jim McIntyre's
Richard "Bud" Armstrong
contract through the approval process. The 5-member voting bloc that typically votes whichever way the superintendent wishes opted not to take a breath and sit back and wait until the state weighed in.

I mean, seriously, it's not like this wouldn't get approved in January or February if the state said it was OK. McIntyre isn't going anywhere. He wants to stay. Holding off a few months would not have changed that.

This contract - if legal - would have gone through. (At least until next September when a new board comes in but that's a whole different story.)

Here's what BOE member Amber Rountree, who voted against the proposal, had to say:
"I think there were a number of legal questions raised at the contract extension that could've used more discussion, which is why I tried multiple times to delay the vote. With no looming deadline, the only pressing reason to vote for a 2 year extension at that time was due to the upcoming election cycle. The insertion of the language in Section 2 about the AG opinion also indicates there were further questions about some of the language. I feel it would've been in the boards best interest to postpone the vote so that we could have voted on a contract that had been fully vetted. My hope is the matter can be resolved quickly so we can turn our focus to working on our goal of Excellence for Every Child."
Now, the proposed contract will go to the Knox County Commission for a vote. Typically, these things are put on the consent agenda, which means they just rubber stamp them and move on. I doubt that happens next week. This will be discussed further.

At the end of the day, however, McIntyre's contract will more than likely be extended. I'm not sure what the big deal is. It's just not going to be this month.
By the way, in a letter to BOE members about Armstrong's move, McIntyre said: "I really have no idea what that means."

He has declined to comment further.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Elections: Balance of power to shift on school board next September

Jim McIntyre
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre had a pretty good year.

The school system earned some fancy awards, test scores jumped slightly and the graduation rate increased, albeit a tad.

He even convinced his 5-member voting bloc to extend his contract, which already had two years remaining on it, for another two years.

Like I said, it was a pretty good year for him.

That’s expected to change in 2016, at least the final quarter of it.

When candidates seeking the four open seats on the Board of Education turned in their qualifying papers by the noon deadline on Thursday, the balance of power on the board shifted. Or it will when the members are sworn into office in early September.

For those who don’t know, McIntyre has enjoyed a 5-member voting bloc of Doug Harris, Karen Carson, Tracie Sanger, Gloria Deathridge and Lynne Fugate.

The other members? Mike McMillan, Terri Hill, Patti Bounds and Amber Rountree? Yeah, not so much.

Anyhoo, McMillan’s seat was up for re-election and no one challenged him. He’s in.

Doug Harris opted not to run again, and in comes Tony Norman, a former biology teacher, a former Knox County Commissioner, and someone who is NOT a fan of McIntyre.

To say these two have a frosty relationship would be an understatement. I’ll leave it at that.

Tony Norman
But no one challenged Tony. He’s in.

The balance of power in September will still be at least 5-4, but it won't favor the superintendent.

It’s a good thing he got that contract extension. The September 2016 board would more than likely would not have signed off on it.

Now, we’re not done here.

Tracie Sanger, who raised about $50,000 to run for a two-year spot on the board (she’s was filling in for Indya Kincannon who stepped down), also opted not to run. I’m told that it’s for health reasons and because she wants to spend time with her family. Fair enough.

Jennifer Owen, a former teacher, and not a McIntyre fan is seeking the seat. So, too, is Grant Standefer, executive director of the Compassion Coalition. From what I’m told, he is a fan.

Expect big bucks to pour in for Standefer. Owen, in order to win, is gonna have to knock on a ton of doors. She’s definitely going to be outspent.

Now, Karen Carson also opted not to run.

So, in comes Lori Ann Boudreaux, Susan Horn and Reuben “Buddy” Pelot. Now, I’m told Horn isn’t in McIntyre’s corner and Pelot is. I’m not sure about Boudreaux. I’ve heard both about her.

Now, why is this important?

Well, because by September the voting bloc against the superintendent might very well be 6-3.

In addition, Terry Hill is expected to become the chair of the board. To add insult to injury, to rub a little salt in the wound, I wouldn’t flinch if Amber Rountree became vice chair.

Like I said, there’s a good chance it won’t be great year for the superintendent.

Now, all that said, the board can’t lose sight of what it’s supposed to do: Make the school system better for the students.

I have long said that I truly believe McIntyre does want to do right for the students.I do believe that.

But it’s going to take both him and the board working together to make that happen. And this time the board – not the McIntyre administration – is going to be driving the train.

Is that right? 

I don’t know.

But come September, we’re more than likely gonna find out.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rogero inauguration set for Dec. 19

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero
The inauguration for Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero is set for 10:30 a.m. Dec. 19. In addition the city will host a swearing in ceremony for four City Council members and a city judge.

The event will take place in the Main Assembly Room of the City Council Building. The public is invited.

At that time, Rogero will deliver her second inaugural address. She, and council members George Wallace, Marshall Stair, Finbarr Saunders, Mark Campen, and Judge John Rosson will be sworn in.

A special called City Council meeting will follow at 11:15 a.m. in the Main Assembly Room for the selection of a Vice Mayor, Beer Board chair and Council representative on the Knoxville Transportation Authority board.

Free parking is available in the Main Street, Dwight Kessel and City County Building garages. A security checkpoint will be in place at the entrances to the City County Building garage, and all guests will be required to go through a security checkpoint to enter the City County Building.

Accessible parking is available at the City County Building. Anyone needing an additional disability accommodation to attend the ceremony should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Stephanie Cook, at or 865-215-2034.

Dozens qualify for March primary

Almost three dozen residents qualified Thursday to compete in next year’s county and school board primaries.

What’s unusual this time around, though, is that many of those who met the noon deadline are Democrats.

That means – unlike many recent elections – the races won’t be determined in the GOP Primary.

As it stands, there are 13 seats up for grabs next year, including nine partisan county seats and four non-partisan Board of Education posts.

“There’s more Democrats in the County Commission races than we’ve seen in the past,” said Knox County Administrator of Elections Clifford Rodgers. “And, from where we sit, we’re glad to see participation from both parties. There’s a lot of interest.”

Rodgers said he expects a turnout of about 100,000 county voters in the March 1 primary, which also will feature the GOP’s presidential primary.

Full story RIGHT HERE.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Knox County Schools to receive athletic and academic gift from the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J

Knox County Schools will receive a significant gift from the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J to refurbish and modernize the football fields at the district’s 13 high schools over a 36-month period, according to a release.

The project is set to break ground in April 2016. Included in the gift will be an investment in academic support for the high schools based on proposals from each of the school principals.

“We are humbled by the generosity of Pilot Flying J and the Haslam family,” said Jim McIntyre, KCS superintendent. “This $10 million commitment is a tremendous opportunity to provide significant enhancements to high school academics, while also recognizing that athletics play an important role in the development of the whole student, and in the high school experience.”

Thirteen high schools will have artificial turf fields installed and other field improvements to allow for a variety of high school athletics to be played year round, as well as the hosting of community events.

Five high schools (Austin East, Bearden, Gibbs, Halls and South Doyle) with tracks that are currently due to be replaced will also receive necessary enhancements as a part of the field renovation.

“The Haslam family is proud to call Knoxville both our home and the headquarters for our company," said Will Haslam, Pilot Flying J. "We are excited about the many potential uses of these new artificial turf fields for a variety of different sports and community events through all seasons. It is a privilege for us to make this gift to Knox County students and student-athletes in honor of my grandfather, James A. Haslam II, and the more than 1,200 Pilot Flying J team members who live and raise their families here."

“This donation will help give our schools a great opportunity to become even more competitive in both academics and athletics,” said Jim Haslam II, founder and chairman of Pilot Flying J. “Athletics are an important part of the high school experience and this will help local students for many years to come. Our family holds a special place for academics and athletics in our hearts as both are important to developing youth and inspiring future leaders.”

Knoxville police revise moonlighting policy in wake of improper K-9 use

The Knoxville Police Department on Tuesday announced that it has changed its policies tied to employee freelancing after four K-9 officers were disciplined for moonlighting in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas and didn’t report their activities.

The move, discussed publicly on Tuesday, comes in the wake of a six-month long Internal Affairs investigation kicked off in mid-April after two officers complained to the city’s law department about “multiple violations of the secondary employment policy,” according to KPD Police Chief David Rausch.

Three of the officers – Darrell Sexton, Adam Moore and Richard Wallace – took police dogs to other states to perform drug searches on traveling circus trains, Rausch said. In addition, Lt. Doug Stiles authorized the actions, which were “outside the scope of services provided by KPD."

The officers used the dogs on four occasions in 2012 and 2013.

Also, Sexton took just under half an ounce of marijuana that was confiscated in May 2012 in Columbus, Ohio with him back to Knoxville to use in canine training. City officials said he never removed it from the trunk of his KPD cruiser and it was still there - three years later - when IA interviewed him.

Sexton then removed the drugs from his car and properly logged them with the KPD Property Unit.
Rausch stressed that none of his employees broke the law, but rather violated city and police department policies and procedures.

He said the officers never submitted the proper forms to moonlight, and failed to submit the proper paperwork to use the dogs.

The chief also said that “there was no intention to hide the drugs from anyone – the biggest issue we had with it was that it was never documented.”

Rest of the story RIGHT HERE.

Burchett to honor law enforcement by feeding them Vol Market hot dogs

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett wants to buy a chili dog and Stormin’ Normin sweet tea for law enforcement officers in appreciation for their service to our community, according to a spin release issued no doubt by Michael the bicycle rider Grider

Burchett is inviting all law enforcement officers, including KPD, KCSO, TBI, FBI, UTPD and THP, to Vol Market #3 on Western Avenue for lunch. The event takes place on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

El Cheapskate is actually picking up the tab on this one. 

“Our law enforcement officers work hard every day to keep us safe, and they deserve our thanks,” Burchett said. “This is a very simple way to let them know that we appreciate what they do. Besides, who doesn’t like a Vol Market chili dog?”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

KCS BOE asks state to remove TNReady data from teacher evaluations

The Knox County Board of Education passed a resolution Wednesday asking the state to give teachers a break by not evaluating them on a new statewide test for this school year.

"It's our first year with TNReady," board member Amber Rountree said. "The state has already provided a grace period for our students, so I thought it was really important that, as a board, we needed to let our state legislators know, and the state Board of (Education) know we believe our teachers deserve the grace period as well."

Rountree presented the resolution in opposition of parts of the TNReady plan. Board members supported her efforts, but wanted a more simple, direct request.

"In this year of transition, the board would like the state to consider not including the results from TNReady in their evaluation," board member Karen Carsen said.

Carsen's version of the resolution, which was considered more clear and direct, passed.

"It creates great stress for our teachers," Carsen said. "We know, in projecting, that because the test is so different that scores may go down, and we can deal with that at a student level at the local board level, but we can't deal with that at an evaluation level."

Although the board agreed to support their teachers, other aspects of TNReady are still up for debate. Rountree specifically said she did not agree with the TNReady assessment paying to 'lease' questions from a Utah test called SAGE.

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.

BOE extends Jim McIntyre's contract

Knox County Schools superintendent Jim McIntyre will lead the district through 2019.

That was the vote of the Board of Education Monday night, following nearly four hours of discussion and public comments.

It was a narrow 5-to-4 vote that approved the two-year extension of McIntyre's contract, from December of 2017 to December of 2019.

Board members received on the same day of the meeting a final revision to McIntyre's proposed contract extension, which board members had to review.

"This is absurd," board member Amber Rountree said, referring to the board's intentions to vote on a revised contract it had seen just that day. "Let's wait and get some clarity on these changes...It's not like we have a deadline looming above us tomorrow."

A number of board members expressed concerns about the contract clause that stipulates the board must pay the superintendent the remainder of his contract if it is terminated early.

"I think a one-year severance package is more than generous," Rountree said, supporting a pay-out period of 12 months, opposed to the remainder of the superintendent's contract.

Full story RIGHT HERE.

Carcello testifies before Congress

UT professor and former county Audit Committee Chairma Joe Carcello testified in Washington, D.C., before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, a committee within the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

Carcello serves several roles within UT's Haslam College of Business—department head for accounting and information management, EY and Business Alumni Professor, and cofounder and executive director of the C. Warren Neel Corporate Governance Center.

Carcello will be testifying on five proposed bills under the heading "Legislative Proposals to Improve the U.S. Capital Markets." Of the five witnesses, two are academics—Carcello and a law professor from Stanford University.

Carcello will encourage Congress to consider the needs of suppliers of capital (investors) rather than only the users of capital (companies).

"Efforts that focus on reducing regulatory safeguards may make it easier for companies to seek public capital but may fail in their intended purpose if they drive the suppliers of capital, the investors, from the market," said Carcello. "In the absence of sufficient regulatory safeguards, investors can currently withdraw from the market or raise the cost of capital to higher levels to compensate for increased risk, but neither outcome enhances capital formation.”

Carcello has testified before U.S. Treasury Department committees, working groups on the future of the auditing profession as well as a Congressional subcommittee on accounting and auditing regulation.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Arts & Cultural Alliance to host photography exhibition by Dean Rice

Dean Rice
The Arts & Culture Alliance will present a new exhibition of photographs by Dean Rice, the county Mayor's Office chief of staff and an avid photographer.

The event will take place from Dec. 4-23 at the Emporium Center. 

These photographs show the faces of Syrian children who now live in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in the desert of Jordan and children who are orphaned living in Amman, Jordan. 

“We talk often of instability in the Middle East, and today we struggle with balancing our national security interests with our humanitarian desires to help the helpless,” Rice said in a released statement. “Through these photographs, however, we see the faces that can bring lasting stability, peace, friendship and gratitude.”

Rice is a member of the national advisory board of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). In the spring of 2015, he traveled to Jordan to visit the Zaatari refugee camp and meet with various Syrians in exile. The photographs of children in this exhibition are some of those he met. Rice is a Global Security Fellow with the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Nuclear Security and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information. 

In 2013, Rice received the Society of Universal Dialogue’s Atlantic Institute "Peace Award" in recognition of his efforts to promote inter-cultural engagement and dialogue. His photographs and paintings have been displayed in multiple exhibitions. A permanent exhibition of his refugee photos is scheduled to open at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC in January, 2016.

The exhibition will be on display in the Emporium Center, 100 S. Gay Street, in downtown Knoxville from December 4-23, 2015. 

An opening reception will take place as part of First Friday activities on December 4 from 5:00-9:00 PM with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and chocolate fondue by the Melting Pot of Knoxville. 

The First Friday reception features music by Pistol Creek Catch of the Day from 5:00-7:00 PM. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sundays, December 6 & 20, 3:30-6:30 PM. 

Please note, the Emporium will be closed December 24 – January 1 for the holidays. For more information, please contact the Arts & Culture Alliance at (865) 523-7543 or visit

Ed & Bob to ring red kettle bells

The Ed and Bob Show continues, this time on Dec. 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the West Town Mall entrance near Camring Charlies where the two at-large Knox County commissioners will hold court.

They note, however, that this "night out" is a little different - they'll be ringing bells at the red kettle for the Salvation Army.

Folks are welcome to stop by and chat about concerns related to Knox County, or to say hello. But, it's also strongly encouraged to donate. To the kettle.