The Knoxville Downtown Sertoma Club

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Updates for the Club

Benjamin Heath with TVA, President Chris Kerr, Linda Price, Jim Cogdell, Matt Hall, and Ashton Hall

Benjamin Heath | TVA | March 14th

This week we had Benjamin Heath PE, with TVA who gave us a quick copy of all that TVA does to include control flood damage, create power, clean air, make our river navigation possible, hydro power and recreation facilities. We spend most of our time making fun of them, but I think we would miss them if they were gone. They are government owned and don’t pay taxes, however, they put a lot of money out in various other ways. I think we should keep them.

Report on the board meeting: The board voted to fund a GoTalk machine for a child with autism who is non-verbal. A bottle of Irish whiskey was left over from our St. Patrick’s celebration and will be added to the silent auction or brown bag items at Oktoberfest. 67 people attended, and it was considered a success. John Kerr sponsored the band.

Speaking of John Kerr, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sertoma and I have it on good authority this happens very seldom.  He is a great addition to our club and makes all of us look good!

We’re off to Keeneland on April 19th. Depart 7:45 Ingles Parking lot, on Emory Rood in Powell. Cost is $55/person-  includes bus, tip to driver and entrance.  Payment is due March 25. Send to: Matt Martland 8108 Chesterfield Drive, Knoxville 37909

ESPN Bracket: Group Sertoma Club 2018, Password Better Vols, You pick your user name.  For more information on either or both, check with Jacob Tippens and Matt Hall.

Tiim Wheeler who is running for Knoxville Civic Court Clerk

Tim Wheeler | Feb 28th.

Tim Wheeler, a long-time member of Sertoma running for Knoxville County Civic Court Clerk. He has worked at the courthouse for several years, so he can “hit the ground running”. I think it’s a win-win for our side and to add to this he has promised to return to Sertoma.


Tim has an extensive understanding of the job and is willing to work to streamline the process and insure that it runs efficiently.

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Lee Freeman CEO of the Sertoma Center Knoxville

Lee Freeman | Sertoma Center CEO | Feb 28th

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner & Concert

Sunday, March 11, 2018 5:30 PM  At the Foundry

If you haven’t made a reservation you should do so, if you plan to eat. Marriane is making a list and checking it twice.

Lee Freeman appears to be an excellent choice for the job of CEO of the Sertoma Center. His first encounter was attending a Friendship Dinner and watching a video of “A Day in the Life”. He shared the video with us and pointed out this year’s Friendship Dinner was just around the corner and Hallerian Hill would be the MC.  He shared several things with us concerning the clients at the center; The cost for their services is competitive with hiring other day time temporary workers. If you have a need, at least give them a call.

Next week our speaker will be Tim Wheeler who is a long-time member of Sertoma (ours) moved uptown and the last I heard is with Bridges Funeral Home. I don’t know what office he is running for but I’m positive he will “Jump in with both feet”. Come and prepare to vote for one of our own.



Gerald Green | Zoning | Feb 21st

MPC ccording to our speaker, Gerald Green, who is the executive director, they will work with you to solve any problems and some “requirements” can be ignored or overlooked.  He went on to say that no one wants a person telling them what they can do with the property they have purchased but at the same time their neighbors want to make sure your business doesn’t make their business look bad.  They are making changes to the zoning laws and he expressed these would be “good” changes. If you drive around Knoxville you know things are changing and mostly for the better, at least the ones I have noticed.

Next week: We will have Lee Freeman who will bring us up to date on what the Sertoma Center is doing and planning.

Record Keeping: Bob Rentenbach read the prayer and Allie Harmon led the pledge. Andy Schoerner continues to win the grid pick, only because Al is not with us and that’s just one of the reasons we miss him!  We hope this situation will be righted soon.


People responsible for speakers in March:

3/7 Rusty Farrell has Tim Wheeler who is running for office.

3/14 Mike McKinney

3/21 Terrell Kerr

3/28 Janet Bigelow


Brett Grimn announced we have received approval from the state to hold our Oktoberfest again this year. Thank you, Brett, for all you do.


David Lawson Presenting at The Downtown SErtoma Club

David Lawson | Feb 14th.

David Lawson had a great idea and preceded to make it a reality. It most likely didn’t hurt that he also had an ad agency.  However, he has come up with a method of presenting three of our most important documents in US history; the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the US Constitution.  They look good when framed and I got fascinated checking out the pictures of the presidents – trust me, they were not elected on looks.

Report on the board meeting:  A Twitter account was created for The Knoxville Downtown Sertoma Club so that we are now creating more of a footprint within social media. Now we will be able to connect with our speakers on a deeper level and be able to update more on upcoming speakers.

We called out the big dogs to induct our newest member Lee Freeman.  He is the new director of the Sertoma Induction of Lee Freeman into the Knoxville Downtown Sertoma ClubCenter and we hope to have him as a regular attendee of our club. We presented him with a check for $3551.00 as incentive and John Kerr did the honors.  With Johns attendance we had three of the four Kerr “boys”.

Recording keeping:  Alan Stuckey read the prayer, Bert West led the pledge. We had Herman Thompson, my brother Art McRae and wife Katie as guest.

Andy Schoerner won the grid pick

Next Week we will have Gerald Green with MPC as our speaker.

County Comissioner Bob Thomas at the Downtown Sertoma Club

Bob Thomas | WIVK | Knox County Commissioner | Feb. 7th

Bob Thomas will give our other candidate a run for the money in our up coming county mayor race. Bob has been with WIVK forever and has learned a lot about meeting people. Said he always wanted to be a radio announcer. I think it’s great when you can decide early on what you want to be and then go for it. He worked with Jim Dick and everyone that knew that man remembers him fondly.  They took on several projects (Mr. Dick came up with them and it was up to Bob to see them carried out); the Tennessee Theater which was saved due to their efforts, announcement that we wouldn’t have a Christmas parade in 1974 due to cost, we did.  At some point they decided we needed a hockey team. Getting the team together wasn’t that much of a challenge but after they lost the first 10 games they played it was determined they also needed a coach. It eventually all came together, and we may not be the best, but we are right on up there.

Mr. Thomas wants to improve the lives of seniors and veterans – can’t argue with any of those. He wants to try a “ride and decide” where high school kids are given an opportunity to work with different organizations such as automotive, printing, plumbing, etc. to see what and how they do things.  He says for every five persons leaving the trades only one is coming in. If this keeps up your bank manager will be making minimum wage and your plumber will be bringing home a hundred thousand a year.

Next week:  America’s Greatest Treasures by David Lawson.  Should be worth-while.  My brother is bringing him, along with Herman Thomson (not sure about Mr. Thomson and the role he plays but we will know soon!  I do know Mr. Lawson has offered to work with us on fund raising and I believe he has spoked to that “other” group next door.


Glenn Jacobs | Running for Knox County Mayor | Jan 24th

I was so late arriving, I even missed lunch!  However, I did get there in time to hear our speaker, Glenn Jacobs, and I was impressed! First off, he’s a hunk which as I had been told he was a wrestler in a former like which colored my thinking. The few wrestlers  I have experienced in my life time did not look like him.  Next. he made perfectly good sense and he has some good ideas.  He made three points:

  1. Everyone has a unique skill set. We all have our own “talents” and if we try something and it fails, try something else!  He wanted to go “pro” but blew out his knee.  He said he was depressed for a time but finally got up, dusted himself off and determined to fine something new.
  2. Failure is important. You can’t have the rainbow, without the rain.  If you aren’t willing to fail, don’t get in the game.  When the government gives you everything; we encourage people to fail.
  3. There ain’t no free lunch. I couldn’t agree more.

He is running for County Mayor – at this point I can safely say I will vote for him! He Is a small business owner which gives him a “head up” on what they face. I don’t know how Jerry Winston knows him, another career change?

Maurine Bodes from the Interfaith Health Clinic was a visitor explaining the “Sweets to the Sweet” fund raiser. For Valentine’s Day. The Inter Faith Clinic’s mission is to provide accessible, affordable, and quality health care to the working uninsured and undeserved in our community. These services are provided regardless of race, sex, creed, age, religion or national origin.  Instead of sending flowers (or better yet, along with) they will deliver a mini Bundt cake to whomever you pick and with the purchase a patient visit to Inter Faith Clinic will be provided in your honor.  Give them a call, (865)546-7330.

Housekeeping:  Bob Rentenbach read the prayer, Matt Hall led the pledge. Along with Maurine from Interfaith we also had Rob Link, Glenn Jacobs campaign manager, and Katherine McKinney (Mike’s wife).


Mary Claiborne | Director for Marketing Knox Public Library | Jan 10th

The final count on who gets the money was decided at the board meeting last week. We also decided to make them attend a meeting to receive their check. I think that’s only fair, we put a lot of effort into getting the money and we want to see a grateful face! I didn’t write down the breakdown of who gets what, but you’ll have an opportunity to hear that at the meeting. Lisa Nichols who is the inspiration behind Stockings from US is becoming an associate member.

We also voted to continue with the St. Patrick’s Day social. This is not a fund raiser, just a casual “get together”. The date is March 11 at the foundry.

Next week:  Glen Jacobs who is a candidate for mayor is coming to tell us why we should vote for him. Now I’m not a fan but I understand he got his start in wrestling under the name Cane – some of you may remember him. He is now a businessman and sells insurance.  Bring a friend, should be fun.

Mary Claiborne, Assistant Director for Marketing, was our speaker last week and even though I have belonged since grammar school, I learned a lot. Frist off I always wondered where the name came from; it was named after his daughter! The first library was built in 1886 and McGhee donated the land! We were the first library in the county and possible the first in the state to be integrated.  Along with a well-stocked library they also offer tutoring, citizenship courses in Spanish, test prep on line.  The library hosts the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and this month will be mailing out 26,000 books in Knox County and 2.5 million across the state. They also supply books for home bound persons who cannot physically come to the library.  All of this is paid for from our wheel tax – I had no idea.  I grew up without television, so reading was and is my all-time favorite pastime. I tried to pass this along to my children and have traveled the world over – in a book.

Housekeeping: Bob Rentenbach read the prayer, Al Gill led the pledge. Al finally made it back and brought his daughter (or she brought him) Nancy Wilson.  Either way, we’re glad he’s back.  Matt Hall was the winner in the grid pick for last week.

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Bethany Lovato | Elkmont Exchange | Jan 3rd

Our speaker on Wednesday, Bethany Lovato, part owner, in charge of marketing and all around nice person, with the Elkmont Exchange brought samples!  They got their start in Viet Nam and lived there for several years. They are a company of three persons:  Bethany, Alex Violette and Brian Davenport. Seems the men have been friends for years, one was into food, the other beer. They determined to combine their talents and opened a restaurant that servers food and beer.  It worked, and they now have several locations to include the first one in Viet Nam that is thriving. They had to learn to make not only bread but also butter as these items were not available locally – see how lucky we are? Everything was going well until their daughter was born and they decided to return home which was originally Knoxville. They have purchased a house in North Knoxville that they are restoring to its original beauty and hope this will be a forever home.  Go check them out, they are located at 746 Broadway  between the cleaners and Broadway Baptist Church, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

I didn’t get information concerning who will be our speaker for next week, but rest assured he/she will be great. Come check them out.  For the record: Bob Rentenbach read the prayer and Brett Grimm led the pledge, we had a measly twenty something that came. My table was empty except for Dr. Jerry and Chris Hoosier.

Congressman Duncun campaign Manager Bob Griffin

Bob Griffin | Congressman Duncun Update | Dec. 20th

I hope this finds everyone healthy, and not too much poorer. I trust you had a great Christmas and enjoyed all the shows, food, parties and of course shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. What amazes me is how fast it coves around now.

Recap of last meeting:

Mike Simpson introduced Bob Griffin who has been with us before; this time filling in for Congressman Duncan who couldn’t attend because of the vote on the tax bill. We did learn that Bob is an Army veteran and was in the 101st. Airborne.  As this is the 29th year for Congressman Duncan it may be the same for Bob. He is obviously proud of his boss and the accomplishments that have been achieved. To name a few: One million new jobs created, 22 regulations rolled back which will save eight billion dollars, and the lowest level of border crossing.  The last tax reform bill was in 1986 when Ronald Regan was president, and lowering the corporate tax rate will do wonders for the free enterprise system. Veterans benefits will be increased (as they should be) I am amazed how poorly our veterans are treated – all gave some, some gave all. Also, Bob pointed out that 45% of the people don’t pay taxes.

Next Week:  Bert West has arranged for Bethany Lovato to speak at our next meeting on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.  Bethany and her partners have opened Elmont Exchange Restaurant and Brewery at 745 Broadway. It is a beautiful, modern place in an old warehouse. I haven’t been there, didn’t know it was there but I’ll be on my way. My building was at 730 Broadway, so this is just up the street.  Neighborhood goes to pot and then suddenly, we find people willing to invest and keep the old structures. Remember the old riddle, silver is good, gold is better. Since this is also a brewery, maybe she’ll bring samples.

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