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November e-Clips

New In Rural Tennessee, Discovery Park of America (ABC News) The gleaming white building with curved exteriors and a spaceship-like tower emerges from the flat landscape of West Tennessee like something out of science fiction, but it's not a villain's lair or superhero's headquarters. It's Discovery Park of America, a new museum, education center and tourist attraction opening Friday in Union City, Tenn., a town of 11,000 located a few hours' drive from Memphis, Nashville and St. Louis. With exhibits about natural and regional history, dinosaurs, Native Americans, energy, transportation, science, the military and space flight, the museum can be described as a mini-Smithsonian Institution. New in Rural Tennessee: Discovery Park of America - ABC News

11 best places to see fall colors (Budget Travel) It's that time of year again. We're deep in the heart of leaf-peeping season and the leaves, they are a-changin'. Whether you're a fall foliage fanatic or just in the mood for a scenic drive — or train ride — through the fabulous fall scenery, you won't want to miss these great seasonal spots.  It's the most colorful time of the year! Here in the Northeast, we're surrounded by beautiful shades of orange, red, and yellow as leaf-peeping season kicks into full swing — but you don't have to be in just one region to appreciate all the fall foliage. We've got 10 great seasonal spots around the country — and one in Canada — where you can see the leaves in all their colorful splendor, whether by car, train, boat, or by going for a nice, long walk in the crisp fall air. If all else fails, you can always choose to live vicariously through our Fall Into Foliage board on Pinterest. Tennessee - In Tennessee's southeastern corner about two hours from Nashville lies Chattanooga, the state's fourth-largest city nestled alongside the Tennessee River, and a prime spot for viewing fall foliage.

Chattanooga lands top environmental sustainability rating from TVA (TFP/Pare) About a generation ago, newscaster Walter Cronkite labeled Chattanooga "the dirtiest city in America" because of its staggering air pollution. Tuesday, the city won a top environmental sustainability rating that officials believe will help it attract more jobs and businesses. "Gosh, have we not come a long way?" said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger after the city and county accepted TVA's platinum ranking in its Valley Sustainable Communities program. Millie Callaway, a TVA senior consultant for economic development, said only 13 communities in its seven-state service area will be cited this year. Just two others are platinum, or top-ranked, so far -- Knoxville and Oak Ridge. TVA sponsored the initiative to help cities and counties catalogue their sustainable assets, and the effort is weighted toward business actions, Callaway said. Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said the citation highlights the link between sustainability, economic development and quality of life.  (REGISTRATION)

FFG earns official Retire Tennessee designation  (Crossville Chronicle) Cumberland County has been attracting retirees and families to the area for countless years. Many accomplishments have been received through those efforts. ranks Cumberland County in the Top 100 Best Places to Retire – ranking 39th among other cities in the United States. Ohio Magazine, At Home Tennessee, Travel 50 and Beyond, Where to Retire, Ideal Living, Fairway Living have published feature articles on the inviting attractions of Cumberland County. Cumberland County is a member of the American Association of Retirement Communities and received the Seal of Approval award in 2007. Fairfield Glade has contributed to the successes of our County in attracting these individuals. The beautiful amenities of this resort-style community include five championship golf courses, 11 lakes, two marinas, miles of nature trails, 12 tennis courts (four are indoors), two outdoor pools, a Community & Conference Center with meeting rooms, a gym and an indoor pool and several restaurants. Fairfield Glade is very attractive to those individuals looking for a beautiful, as well as affordable, place to retire in Tennessee.

Civil War Trust Wraps $1.4M Campaign to Save Chickamauga-Chattanooga Battlefield Acreage(News Fredericksburg) This morning, as part of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s annual signature event in downtown Chattanooga, the Civil War Trust announced the successful completion of a $1.4 million fundraising campaign to protect 109 acres of battlefield land associated with Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.The newly preserved land is located at historic Reed’s Bridge, site of the opening salvo of the battle of Chickamauga.“The Civil War sesquicentennial has presented us with a remarkable opportunity to transform public interest in Civil War history into the tangible legacy of battlefield preservation,” said Trust president James Lighthizer. “The protection of these historic landscapes is an investment in our nation’s future, complete with educational, economic and environmental benefits.”

Travel Writers Take In Historic, Scenic Sites (Greeneville Sun) Travel writers from several states tour the Andrew Johnson Homestead on South Main Street on Saturday afternoon. The tour was led by Daniel Luther, second from right, of the local National Park Service staff. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development brought 13 U.S. travel writers to town late last week, and local tourism officials rolled out a "red carpet" for them that extended from the elegant General Morgan Inn to the scenic back-roads beauty of rural Greene County.  The large group of travel writers came to Greeneville Thursday night from multiple states across the U.S. in connection with a special tour through Northeast Tennessee arranged by the Department of Tourist Development.

New welcome center being built on I-26 (  Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Susan Whitaker joined state and local officials in Sullivan County today to break ground for a new welcome center on I 26. The new welcome center will be located at mile marker 5 and is expected to open to the public in the summer of 2015. “This new welcome center in Sullivan County will play a major role in welcoming visitors to Tennessee,” said TDOT Commissioner Schroer. “The Interstate 26 corridor is the primary route to several tourist destinations, including the Cherokee National Forest. I’m pleased to see construction begin on this important project.”  The new welcome center will feature a log cabin design. The welcome center will provide access for travelers on eastbound and westbound I-26. “Tennessee Welcome Centers serve millions of visitors well every year, providing important information about our wonderful destinations and attractions,” said Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker. “Partnering with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to build our 15th Welcome Center will add additional opportunity to enhance the visitors experience while traveling through our state.”

Officials hope new $80 million Discovery Park puts western Tenn on tourism map (Star Tribune) As a new $80 million Discovery Park of America nears opening day, officials in western Tennessee hope the attraction helps put the area on the tourism map. Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker told The Paducah Sun ( the park will allow the area on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line to become a tourism destination. Whitaker says the area combines history, education and entertainment in one experience. "It's really a stunning, man-made achievement ... we want people who are handing you their money to be smiling and to know they had a great experience," Whitaker said. The 50-acre complex includes a main three-story discovery center building with 10 exhibit halls along with outdoor structures including a 100-year-old church, a school house, six full-sized train cars, building replicas, a farm exhibit and an antique windmill.

LeConte Center opens in Pigeon Forge (Mountain Press) The county’s newest events center opened Wednesday amid a lot of smiles and applause. The LeConte Center aims to help Pigeon Forge join Gatlinburg and Sevierville in attracting conventions and events, and there are already signs the new center is helping that industry grow. The city had already announced that one event, the International Gift Exposition of the Smokies, will be using both the Sevier County Events Center and the LeConte Center. Wednesday, Pigeon Forge Director of Tourism Leon Downey said two more events have signed on for events co-hosted by the facilities. That shows the high demand that exists in the convention industry for a chance to come to the area, with its multitude of family friendly activities. And it was the opportunity to attract those events, both to Pigeon Forge itself and to the area, that drove the city to build the LeConte Center. It goes hand in hand with several other developments supported by local government, including Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlinburg and the Cal Ripken Experience Youth baseball facility set to locate near the new center. “We are so excited about what’s here now and what we see coming to our city and the adjoining cities down the road,” City Manager Earlene Teaster said. “We certainly do look forward to working with our sister cities. “We just see better things occurring for the whole area here in the very near future.”

Sumner tourism increase is highest in 13-county region (Tennessean) Tourists spent almost $115 million in Sumner County in 2012 — the highest since 2008, according to figures released in September by the U.S. Travel Association.The amount of visitor spending has steadily increased each year since 2009, due in part to a recovering economy, the study said. In addition, Sumner’s tourist spending increased by 9.1 percent over the previous year, netting the biggest increase over 12 other Middle Tennessee counties, including Davidson County, according to the report. That’s good news for some local businesses. “We have had a lot of new people from out of town in the past year,” said Amber York, manager at Sweet CeCe’s, a frozen yogurt shop in Hendersonville. “We are also seeing more tourists during the off-season that come in for homecomings and other family events.” Flipper’s Bait and Tackle in Gallatin has also seen extra business due to tourism. “We get a lot of shoppers that are fishermen from other areas and they always want to come in and check out the tackle shop,” said Flipper Copeland, owner of the business. The study, done for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, looked at the 13-county region of the Mid-Cumberland Greater Nashville Regional Council. Barry Young, director of the Sumner County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the formula-based study shows a bigger picture of all tourist spending. “The majority of things they look at are hotel stays, dining, transportation — filling a car or boat with gas, shopping and attractions,” he said. “If they visit Rock Castle while they are here, that counts as an attraction.”

Civil War exhibits being installed in Tennessee Welcome Centers (Bristol Herald Courier)  Visitors to Tennessee now have the chance to better understand the state’s role in the Civil War. As part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration, the state is installing Civil War exhibits in Welcome Centers across the state. The exhibits display the state’s overall place in Civil War history as well as the battles and buildings specific to each area. On Thursday, the exhibit at the Interstate 81 Welcome Center was unveiled. A couple dozen elected officials, state workers and community members attended the ceremony. “This history is a big part of Tennessee,” said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville. The exhibit has information about the Battle of Blountville as well as places in Northeast Tennessee that played a prominent role in the Civil War. It also gives an overview of the entire war in Tennessee. Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker said the displays are different and designed to get tourists off the freeways to explore the region. “That means people will be traveling through the communities,” Whitaker said.

Tennessee State Library archivers digitizing Civil War relics in Chattanooga (Times Free Press) Tennessee residents are invited to bring their Civil War relics to the Chattanooga Convention Center this week for documentation. Continuing its "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee" project, the Tennessee State Library and Archives is offering the rare opportunity to have Civil War manuscripts, artifacts and photographs digitally preserved free of charge. As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a team of professional archivists, curators and conservators from TSLA will be on hand 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, to digitize these privately owned Civil War records and artifacts. Dr. Wayne Moore, assistant state archivist, believes next week's turnout should yield exciting results, as Chattanooga is "a key place in [Tennessee Civil War] history and a hotbed of Civil War interest."

Memphis: No X Factor rejects here (Mirror UK) The song starts with a blast of horns and suddenly the room explodes into life. More than 30 kids perform Otis Redding’s Shake with so much energy and talent I fear the walls of their school hall might burst with the force of it. We’re at the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, Tennessee, a performing arts school where the standard is so high your average X Factor winner wouldn’t pass the first audition. It’s next door to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, a tourist attraction that celebrates its 10th birthday this year. The museum helps pay for the academy and local kids get the kind of opportunities that classic soul label Stax gave to earlier generations. It’s sustainable tourism in action. To mark the anniversary, visitors and the label’s surviving stars are treated to a unique performance by the academy’s top pupils.

Civil War symposium 'Occupation and Liberation' at Chattanooga Convention Center (Times Free Press) First it was Civil War fighting come to life on a mock battlefield in North Georgia. Now what happened on and off the battlefield is being brought to life here in artifact and word through the largest such display from Tennessee's state archives ever to leave Nashville. And you can see it through the Civil War Sesquicentennial Symposium: "Occupation and Liberation" through Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Assistant State Archivist Wayne Moore has brought more than 35 items, from battle journals to maps and more, from the Tennessee State Library and Archives and Tennessee State Museum in Nashville for display during the four-day event that began Wednesday.  "These are direct links with that past," Moore said. "You can read about stuff in books and never get the direct connection ... the artifact was used by someone in these battles and in these places." This is only the second time that the state's items have left the archives for exhibition, Moore said.

West Tennessee fall destinations - For outdoor adventures, look no further than West Tennessee (Jackson Sun) Fall is the perfect time to hit the trails in Tennessee! If Tennessee’s big cities take center stage on your vacation or weekend getaways, consider the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways as one of your backstage passes to the back roads that will help you discover what lies off the beaten path. To my surprise I have learned that many residents of Tennessee are not aware of the Mockingbird route (an unofficial trail that is marked with a small mockingbird on Tennessee maps). This is your most scenic route, but if you are on a schedule, be aware that if you get behind a tractor or a school bus, you may lose time on your trip, which will force you to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Three statewide and 16 regional trails with names like “Cotton Junction,” Ring of Fire,” and “Sunny Side” originate in or run through your favorite Tennessee destinations such as Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Great Smoky Mountains. And the best part is you can decide when, where and how long you want to travel. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Marty Marbry, Regional Marketing Manager with the State of Tennessee Department of Tourism Development. Her enthusiasm for all the things to see and do in the great state of Tennessee is contagious! “West Tennessee is a destination,” stated Marty. “There is so much to do. I want people to think driving 3 or 4 hours to West Tennessee is worth it! When some people think destination, they may think Florida or the Gulf Coast. When I took my present job 8 1/2 years ago, I had never been to Pickwick. I grew up in Memphis, and my background was retail management. So, this 8 ½ years has been amazing to discover the things I have found in West Tennessee.

Bedford Co. hoping Civil War Trails marker boosts tourism (The Republic) Bedford County is hoping to boost tourism by highlighting its Civil War heritage. The Shelbyville Times-Gazette ( reports that the county is dedicating a Civil War Trails marker on the south courthouse lawn during a public ceremony on Wednesday. "The marker is a good way for our community to increase tourism," said Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray. "Bedford County has a significant amount of history from the Civil War." Shelbyville did not play a significant role in the war but it was a "side action," said Al Simmons, president of the Bedford County Historical Society. He said the city was wedged between larger battles in Murfreesboro and Tullahoma. According to the Courthouse marker, on June 23, 1863, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans "feinted toward Shelbyville ... and then captured Hoovers and Liberty Gaps the next day. A mounted infantry brigade captured Manchester on June 27." The marker details more skirmishes that followed in this region before Confederate forces retreated to Chattanooga on July 3.

Elvis Presley's Graceland To Celebrate The Holidays With Special Lighting Ceremony (Chattanoogan) Elvis Presley’s Graceland will officially begin the holiday season by “flipping the switch” on the traditional lights and decorations during the annual lighting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 22. The event is free and open to the public. The extensive Christmas display includes hundreds of blue lights along the driveway, a life-size Nativity scene, Santa and his sleigh, and much more, all originally displayed at Graceland by Elvis and the Presley family. Santa, decked out like the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, will be available for pictures following the lighting ceremony. Regular paid tours of Graceland will operate the day of the lighting ceremony from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The interiors of Graceland mansion will feature Elvis’ Christmas décor through Elvis’ birthday week celebration Jan. 8, 2014. Included will be his traditional red velvet drapes as well as Presley family Christmas artifacts on display around several trees throughout the home. Elvis fans can watch the Graceland lighting ceremony live on For more information, call 901 332-3322

Even minus the politics, some say Tenn's Capitol is a house of horrors (TFP/Sher) In a very old building that has witnessed unceasing turmoil and countless back stabbings — not to mention having four people entombed within its walls or buried on its grounds — you might expect talk about things going bump in the night. And if the place is Tennessee's state Capitol, you'd be right. While by no means a Stephen King-like Halloween house of horrors, the Capitol, dedicated in 1859 and one of the nation's oldest working state capitols, does have its ghost stories and a reputation for unexplained goings-on. That's not even getting into the living politicians who have been known to frighten citizens. Officials and workers say that by night the Capitol's atmosphere can be unsettling, eerie even, especially when you're alone in the three-story, Greek-revival limestone behemoth. "I don't have any interesting [ghost] stories, but I will tell you it can be a spooky place to work late at night," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett, whose office is on the Capitol's first floor. "Nobody else is around. You can hear all kinds of things. I used to hear creaks. You could hear footsteps. But it's just you and the Capitol."   (REG)

Beyond Graceland: Things to do in Memphis (Houston Chronicle)  If rock 'n' roll has a Holy Grail - a venerated relic through which the prophets, saints and martyrs in the church of American music converted followers and performed miraculous feats - I was about to sing into it. Clearly, crooning into the microphone at Sun Studio doesn't guarantee fame, so I settled for humming "Folsom Prison Blues" and posing for a picture with it. The surprise about the Holy Mike, a Shure 55 model with most of nickel plating worn away, isn't just that it was used for the early recordings of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and a teenager from Tupelo, Miss., named Elvis. The surprise is that there is no case, no alarms, no velvet rope. "You can lower or raise it," tour guide Jayne White tells our group. "Just don't lick it or kiss it." That's Memphis.

The Discover Dickson free travel app is available for smartphones. (Dickson Herald) Imagine you’ve been on Interstate 40 all day and need to rest while you’re passing through Dickson. Or you’re visiting Nashville from out of state and want to experience more of Middle Tennessee. Maybe you want to know what eateries the county has to offer. Or, maybe you are visiting Dickson. A smartphone app providing you with information about lodging, attractions, events, shopping and dining in Dickson County would come in pretty handy. Such a tool may even keep travelers in Dickson for a little bit longer when they’re just stopping for gas. The county’s tourism and economic and community development branch commissioned an app, Discover Dickson toward that end and it’s available for free on smartphones. The app serves as a mobile visitors guide, complete with address links that open up your phone’s map app for easy navigation, and phone numbers.

ReadyTN mobile app available (Elk Valley Times) Tennesseans can now download Ready TN, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s popular smartphone preparedness application, to iPhone and iPad devices and access the application’s information and resources on hazards and how to be ready for emergencies. “It is incredibly important Tennesseans take time to prepare for emergencies, and this new app from TEMA is designed to be responsive to our customers, the taxpayers,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “Citizens are relying increasingly on their mobile devices for relevant and timely information, and the ReadyTN app are relying increasingly on their mobile devices for relevant and timely information, and the ReadyTN app delivers critical tips and resources to Tennesseans so they can be prepared the next time a disaster strikes.” iPhone and iPad owners simply need to search for ReadyTN in the App Store or in the iTunes Store and then download the application to their devices. The ReadyTN browser-landing page in the iTunes Store is Once active, ReadyTN will provide location-based information on severe weather, road conditions, open shelters and local government contacts. Preparedness tips for specific hazards and checklists for emergency kit items are also provided in the application’s content.

Tennessee has received $5 million to support research and development of solar energy (Memphis Business Journal)  Tennessee has received $5 million to support research and development of solar energy from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. The funding is part of a $60 million investment in the initiative, which is designed to lower the cost of solar electricity, advance grid integration of solar energy systems and support the growth of the solar energy workforce in the country. According to a DOE statement, the solar industry has created nearly 20,000 new jobs. An estimated 119,000 people are employed at 5,000 solar energy companies across the U.S. The funding will help provide training for engineers, utility workers and for students. “The tremendous growth in the U.S. solar industry over the past few years is helping to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future that protects our air and water and provides affordable clean energy to more and more Americans,” Ernest Moniz, Energy Secretary, said in a statement. “Responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is an important part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and will help ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation.”

Preservation group to take grant applications (Associated Press) The Tennessee Historical Commission will start taking grant applications for historic preservation projects for next year starting Friday. Officials say the amount of funds available for grants in Tennessee is expected to be about $200,000. The selection progress will emphasize projects such as architectural and archaeological surveys, design guidelines for historic districts and the rehabilitation of historic buildings that are listed on the National Register and have a public use. The grants will pay up to 60 percent of the costs of approved project work. The grant recipient must provide the remaining 40 percent of the costs as matching funds. Applications must be submitted by Jan. 31. For more information about the Tennessee Historical Commission, visit .

TWRA offering grants for riparian tree planting (Associated Press) The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is offering grants to assist with riparian tree planting projects. Five grants of $500 each are available in each of TWRA's four regions. Seedlings must be bought through the Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry. Nov. 30 is the deadline to apply and projects must be completed by June 30 of next year. Tree planting season in Tennessee is October through March. 

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