Member Spotlight: Cirrus Aircraft’s Vision Jet

May 23, 2017   -   0 comments

The Cirrus Aircraft Company opened its doors in 1984 with a single vision of building superior aircraft that would not be content to follow the pack, but would instead be at the front of the pack. According to Cirrus, their mission is to “Deliver an aviation experience that is the pinnacle of innovation, quality, and safety to our customers.”

A Lifetime of Innovation

Virtually any successful aircraft manufacturer can create an innovative design that appeals to at least one segment of the industry. Many do and then stick to a design that has proven to be successful. The only problem with doing this is that without continuous innovation a company that does this will eventually fly off into the sunset. At Cirrus, continuous innovation is not only the key to their success, but it is also the byword by which every employee lives by.

The Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet is a perfect example of the desire to innovate and run ahead of the pack. It is the realization of the company’s desire to create an entirely new category of personal aircraft. This is the personal jet, one that can actually be flown by the owner, rather than one that has to be flown by a professional full-time pilot.

The idea behind the design was to create a jet aircraft that would be easier to fly, operate, and own, filling in the gap between the high-performance piston engine aircraft and the Very Light Jet categories. The plan was to offer owners and pilots that chance to own a jet aircraft, one that until now they could only dream of.

True Innovation

Cirrus has long been known as one of the leading innovators in the personal aircraft industry, and the Cirrus Vision Jet is a natural extension of this concept. The design makes use of Cirrus’ groundbreaking carbon fiber technology, allowing their engineers to create a seamless monocoque carbon fiber fuselage that is stronger and lighter. This revolutionary design makes the Vision Jet the leading “state-of-the-art pressure vessel in its class.”

Cabin noise has long been an issue in personal aircraft, but the Vision Jet has overcome much of this problem with its innovative “piggyback” engine location and V-tail design. To ensure the safety of all on board, the Vision Jet is fitted with the ultimate in small aircraft safety, the Cirrus Airframe Parachute Safety (CAPS) system.  To date, this unique system has saved more than 100 lives in both the SR20 and SR22 aircraft.

Life on the Inside

Inside the Vision Jet, you will find comfortable seating for up to five adults and two children with plenty of legroom for all in the reclining seats. The flight deck is equipped with the proprietary Cirrus Perspective Touch™ by Garmin® that provides an incredible array of easy to use, highly sophisticated global navigation technologies and safety features the pilot can operate with a single finger.

The dual-zone climate controls allow passengers to choose their comfort level, while the large windows have been strategically placed to ensure maximum visibility. Everything about the Vision Jet has been carefully thought out to ensure the aircraft is a pure joy to own and fly.

Member Spotlight: Smoky Mountain Brewery

May 18, 2017   -   0 comments

The Smoky Mountain Brewery (SMB) started life as many other great breweries did around the world; the owners had a dream to create an amazing craft beer. It has taken on a life of its own filled with a history of trial and error and incredible passion. It is listed as being the oldest craft beer brewery in East Tennessee with the first location in Gatlinburg opening in 1996. This was a time when more people would buy corporate beers such as those from Anheuser-Busch or Miller rather than even consider a microbrew.

The Early Days

During the early days of the first location, many customers would become upset when told the SMB served only their own in-house microbrews. In fact, the SMB started their microbrewery one year before Jim Koch would begin selling Sam Adams. Not only did the SMB start brewing their own beer in 1996, but they also offered a small menu consisting of sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas.

The original location served meals on paper plates with plastic utensils and had to go into the kitchen to pour craft beer for their customers. As a customer, you simply walked up to the counter and placed your order, they couldn’t afford to hire wait staff, but it wasn’t long before their old wood-fired oven could no longer keep up with the demand.

Unbelievable Growth

There is nothing like serving out of this world food and amazing craft beers to help a business grow and become too popular to continue running on a shoestring. Today the Smoky Mountain Brewery has four locations, including the original in Gatlinburg, one in Pigeon Forge, one at Turkey Creek in Knoxville, and their latest located in Maryville.

Thanks not only to the incredible efforts and remarkable beers produced by the SMB but also to the rapid growth of interest in craft beers nationwide, the SMB has found its niche.  They have invested not only in new equipment that allows them to produce amazing pizzas in 20 minutes instead of 45 but in hiring a large staff of locals to work in their restaurants and of course the brewery. But don’t think that they are content to rest on their laurels; there is always room for growth.

The Best Never Rest

The craft beer craze may be partly responsible for the SMB’s rise in popularity, but it’s their dedication to continually perfect their craft beers and menu, that defines this brewery. Today, you will find the SMB offers six flagship beers that are always available on tap in each of the four locations. Along with this, they also offer four different seasonal brews and a Brewmaster Special that rotates every few weeks. You may also find a dark ale on the menu board from time to time, including the Tuckaleechee brew.

Along with great brews and fantastic foods, each SMB location offers a range of events such as NFL football on big screen TVs, Karaoke nights, live team trivia, and live music throughout the year. Bring your family for an unforgettable meal or come on in for a taste of one or two of the finest craft brews in the state!

Historic Capitol Theatre: An Exceptional Event Venue in Maryville, TN

May 16, 2017   -   0 comments

The Capitol Theatre first opened its doors way back in 1934 and would soon become one of the most popular and highest rated entertainment spots in the area.  It was built in the W.A. Dunlap building that was constructed in 1922, that housed an undertaking business and furniture store. For some time, the building was also home to the J.C. Penney Co. until they lost their lease. In 1934, the Crescent Amusement Co. began construction of the Capitol Theatre which would be the largest of no less than three theaters located in downtown Maryville at the time, as it could seat approximately 1000 guests.

A Premiere Entertainment Center

As an art deco style movie house, the Capitol Theatre quickly became the premier entertainment venue for local residents. Parents loved being able to drop their kids off for the Saturday matinees while they went out and took care of the shopping. Thanks to the fly loft, the movie screen could be retracted allowing the stage to be used for live theater shows and musical performances. The Capitol Theatre closed its doors in the 1970s and the building became home to a number of businesses in the ensuing years.

In 2008, the building underwent a complete restoration aimed at restoring not only its former majesty but at creating a new entertainment center and event venue that could host a number of events. The renovation included turning the sloping floor in the main auditorium into tiers that now house a dinner theater. This new theater features the latest in state-of-the-art audio and video equipment capable of showing a wide range of hit movies.  Inside the building, you will find an ice cream parlor, a coffee shop, and art gallery that features works by Heath Claiborne, a nationally recognized artist.

Get Married in Style

If you are looking for the perfect place to get married in Maryville, TN, look no further than the Capitol Theatre. The old Hollywood art deco interior lets you step back in time to when elegance was in style.  The unique dinner theater style seating lets you create the perfect place for your wedding ceremony and then to hold your reception. Your band can set up on the performance stage and there is a large dance floor for your guests to enjoy. You can use the state-of-the-art sound and light systems to create an experience you and your guests will never forget.

Create the Ultimate Corporate Event

Start with your company name in lights out on the marquee and then take advantage of the 30-foot movie screen and the wooden dance floor for your next company party. The theater offers full catering service as well as the coffee and ice cream shops. Let your employees and your customers know that you care enough about them to give them the very best that Maryville has to offer. The historic Capitol Theatre has so much to offer, you may soon find yourself using it for all of your celebrations and for a night out on the town with family and friends.

Family Fun in Maryville, TN: Spend the Day in Bicentennial Greenbelt Park

May 11, 2017   -   0 comments

If you are looking for a great place to relax with your family in the Maryville, TN area, look no further than Bicentennial Greenbelt Park located in the heart of the town. If you are not local to the area, you may not know that this part of town was once home to a light industrial area that had polluted the beautiful Pistol Creek to the point at which nothing could live in the water or the surrounding land.

The park itself was created as part of an urban renewal effort created by the City of Maryville during the years leading up to our nation’s bicentennial in 1976. It was, in fact, the high levels of pollution in the creek that led to the decision to restore the area and create this amazing park. Building the park was just the beginning and led to changes that would positively affect the entire area of town.  The early walkways would go on to become the heart of the Maryville Alcoa Greenway, while locals simply call the park the “Greenbelt”.

A New Lease on Life

Starting in 1976 the area in and around the park began to see a new lease on life as new homes, businesses and more began to once again grow. As part of this slow but steady growth, a flock of Canada geese has called the park home for over 50 years.  There are miles of trails you can bike or hike on with plenty of benches for you to stop and rest or simply relax on and enjoy the sun.  You never know when you might come upon several of the many cranes who also call the park home.

There is even a bridge that can take you directly to the Blount County Library which sits on the border of the park and was opened in 2002.  With so many trails to choose from, there is plenty of room for bikers, walkers, and joggers to enjoy them without getting in each other’s way. Kids will love the wide-open areas where there is plenty of room to run and play. Don’t forget to bring your picnic lunch and a blanket to stretch out on while the little ones play.

If you don’t feel like packing a lunch, there are several local restaurants to choose from that are within walking distance of the park. For those who need a refreshing drink, there are water fountains located throughout the park, including fountains for your four-legged friend. Speaking of dogs, a dog park has recently been added so that your favorite family pet can run and stretch his or her legs. Of course, you can also take your dog for a long walk along the many miles of trails that are now part of the Alcoa trail system.

The park is a wonderful place filled with shade trees, open grassy areas to play in, and trails to walk on and spend time relaxing by yourself or with your entire family. Come for the sunshine, stay to feed the ducks, and get away from it all without having to leave town.

Maryville, TN Adventures: Discover Cades Cove Museum

May 9, 2017   -   0 comments

The Cades Cove Museum is located in the historic Thompson-Brown Log House and is operated by the Cave Cove Preservation Association (CCPA) and is free for all ages. The museum is open from Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. While it is closed on all other days, you can contact the CCPA if you wish to visit at another time.

The house itself is over 200 years old and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure is now one of the oldest two-pen, two story log buildings still standing in Eastern Tennessee. While there are no records showing exactly when this home was built, archeologists believe it was built during the early nineteenth century.  The land it stands on was sold to William Thompson by Thomas Barclay. Thompson is thought to be the person who built this home and went on to raise his family there starting with the birth of his daughter in 1823.

The House

This log home is exceptionally well-built from pine instead of the more common poplar. All of the logs used are 15 inches in diameter and joined using the “V-notch” method at each corner for added durability. All gaps between the logs have been chinked using a plaster material that has been found to contain animal hair. Sometime in the latter part of the nineteenth-century boards were added to the exterior to help protect the logs and improve the home’s appearance as it was no longer considered to be fashionable to live in a log home.

Today the Thompson-Brown home is located in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and offers visitors an opportunity to step back in time and see how people in the area once lived. There are still many descendants of the original settlers of the area living nearby. In some cases, those who live nearby only moved when the land was incorporated into the park, yet they still take great pride in having lived here and in the ancestry.

In fact, most of the artifacts to be found in the museum have been donated by descendants of those who once lived here. Today the CCPA works tirelessly to keep the house and all of the photographs, artifacts, and other items in excellent condition so that visitors can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

The House is Only the Beginning

While you could spend all of your time in the historic Thompson-Brown home, there is so much more for you to see here. At one point the National Park Service had considered letting the area return to nature. Thanks to the effort of local residents and the Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association, only the more modern structures were destroyed. This left behind a number of other primitive cabins and barns along with a meadow that would allow upwards of 2 million or more visitors a chance to see what pioneer life in Appalachia was like in the early days. The Cove is now the most popular place for visitors to the park to stop, take pictures, and step back in time to a day when life was much simpler.

Explore Maryville, TN: Visit Blue Goose Farm & Vineyards

May 3, 2017   -   0 comments

The Blue Goose Farm & Vineyards is a small family-owned and operated farm and vineyard that is easy to find sitting just outside of Maryville, TN. Here you will discover that the family grows a number of different varieties of sweet southern grapes, called muscadines, along with several different types of apples. But there is far more to the Blue Goose than grapes, apples, and wine; the farm offers the perfect location for weddings, family gatherings and more.

An Idyllic Location

The Blue Goose can be found nestled in an incredible picturesque valley deep in one of Tennessee’s best-known natural resources, the Great Smoky Mountains. No matter where you are on the farm, you can enjoy a spectacular view of this section of the Appalachian Mountain chain that stretches for over 2,100 miles as they wander from Maine all the way down to Georgia.

The farm is open year-round to the public, giving you and your family a chance to see the vineyards bloom in the spring, the grapes and apples as they grow all summer long, and then come to see them harvested in the late summer-early fall. Being open all year round also gives you a chance to see the farm and surrounding areas as they change with the seasons. Over 1.8 million visitors flock to the Blue Goose farm and vineyards each fall to see the trees as they display an incredible riot of colors.

If you prefer to visit in the spring as the last of the snows fade away and the warmer weather begins to arrive, you can see a wealth of freshly planted crops that stretch from the farm all the way to the foothills of the Great Smokies. The choice is yours, but to truly enjoy all that Blue Goose has to offer, you should try to visit several times each year.

The Wines

Growing grapes, apples, and other fruits is only the beginning as most of the crops are grown with only one thing in mind, which is producing superior quality wines. Currently, there are 13 varieties in the Blue Goose inventory, including traditional southern red and white muscadines in both sweet and semi-sweet varieties as well as raspberry and blackberry wines for those who prefer something a little fruitier. Here you will also find their Mystic Red which is produced from Chambourcin grapes grown in Tennessee.

No wine is complete without a complementary cheese to go with it. In the gift shop, you will find a selection of award winning cheeses along with a number of hand-decorated gifts that can be used to create your own custom gift baskets.


The Blue Goose farm and vineyards is the perfect place for your wedding and can accommodate small groups with ease. There is nothing more memorable than a grand southern style wedding held on a bright sunny day out in the open air. The only thing the family asks is that you contact them to schedule your special event and ensure that no one else has already booked that date or time.

Everyone at the Blue Goose invites you and your family to visit them and learn all about the making of wine from planting new crops to bottling the finished product. Be sure to plan several visits this year and take a few bottles of their award-winning wines home with you!

Member Spotlight: Leadership Blount

April 24, 2017   -   0 comments

Sometimes leaders can only reach their greatest potential when they have received encouragement and affirmation, plus the skills they need to succeed.  Leadership Blount County (LB) seeks out leaders in the Blount County community and offers them resources to help them grow and to train them to look for opportunities to use their gifts and determination to improve their community.  


Seeking out Blount County Leaders


LB exists as an opportunity to identify Blount County volunteers who possess strong leadership skills and to develop those skills through a tailored curriculum. The selected members of the program are together called a “class” and are chosen by a Board that carefully selects current leaders as well as residents who show great potential.  The class is made up of members who are driven to succeed and who can make a difference in the community by participating in leadership roles in various avenues.  


Approximately 36 members make up a class each year and attend program sessions each month that cover a multitude of topics such as History, Government, Business, Education and Health Care.  Members pay a tuition that covers fees and class materials, as well as transportation and some meals.  There are scholarships available for those who need assistance with the tuition cost.  


Nominations and Programs


At the beginning of the year, LB opens the floor up to nominations that can be sent in over the internet or into the office.  Candidates who have exhibited continual concern for the well-being of the community through volunteer efforts will receive an application, and the selection committee, made up of Leadership Blount alumni, chooses members that excel in volunteerism and leadership.  Youth Leadership Blount is an addition to the main program, which focuses on potential student leaders throughout the community.  This program aims to develop the interest of youth who may not be living up to their leadership potential through classes that are similar to those of the adult program.  The students selected are responsible for a very small fee, and the rest of the cost is covered by sponsorships and donations.

Getting Involved


LB partners with several organizations throughout the city and provides opportunities for leaders to get involved in volunteer efforts that benefit area groups.  They also offer extra classes that provide specific information on particular opportunities for leadership, such as running for public office.  LB also hosts special events and fundraisers that class members support through participation and by spreading the word.  
Leadership Blount County is impacting citizens, equipping them with the tools they need to effect change in the city they call home.  LB helps leaders to know that they are capable of living up to their potential and gives them the confidence to follow their passion and to encourage the community to constantly look for ways to improve Blount County.

Member Spotlight: Keep Blount Beautiful

April 21, 2017   -   0 comments

Our planet is in dire need of people who want to make a difference and ensure that future generations will enjoy a clean home for years to come.  Every city can come together to make an impact and Blount County, TN is leading the charge with an initiative called Keep Blount Beautiful (KBB).  Through the efforts of many, this town is demonstrating what teamwork and dedication can do to help save the planet, one beautiful place at a time.


Educational Resources


Education is a major contributor  to success when it comes to green living, and KBB wants to make sure that everyone can learn about improving our planet.  KBB offers programs to schools, businesses, and any other group that would like to learn more about subject, including the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), stormwater pollution, and watershed issues.  Field trips to the city’s landfill and EcoCenter are also available, and offer hands-on, interactive learning possibilities.


Events and Opportunities


KBB hosts events throughout the year that focus on spreading awareness of green living efforts.  The BRAVO! Awards ceremony recognizes local groups that do a commendable job of keeping their landscaping attractive and those that have contributed to sustainable practices. Community cleanup is also a big part of KBB’s mission. Over the past 25 years, KBB has initiated many successful programs that are all aimed at igniting a passion in Blount County residents to do their part.  The Litter Prevention program focuses on cleaning up litter throughout various communities around the city.  KBB’s main strategy for litter prevention is through regular community pickup events.  KBB provides opportunities for cleanup through their own efforts, but it also encourages citizens to put together their own pickups.  It even provides supplies for anyone who wants to schedule a pickup, such as litter pickers, gloves, vests, signage and garbage bags.  To help with cleanup efforts, KBB has also hosted Dash for Trash, a fun run that involves picking up litter while running.  Another chance for residents to get involved is through reporting litter that has been found on the road or on personal property. For easy recycling, KBB has a trailer filled with recycling supplies for events and they also conduct beautification projects with plantings funded by grants and donors.  




KBB is dependent on the generosity of others to fund its efforts.  It relies on financial gifts and volunteers to operate its events and pickups, and there are various ways to support its endeavors.  In addition to monetary donations you can help by shopping with Amazon Smile and Kroger, as both organizations release proceeds to KBB.  You can also be added to KBB’s volunteer list to stay up to date on current opportunities to help serve your neighborhood.  
Keep Blount Beautiful is an outstanding example of what can happen when a city comes together to multiply beautification efforts that benefit everyone.  KBB helps Blount County residents understand the impact that a few can have on the planet and encourages strategies that bring active awareness to the importance of sustainable practices.

Member Spotlight: Junior Achievement of East Tennessee

April 18, 2017   -   0 comments

Some promising business men and women of the future are found amid today’s youth.  Junior Achievement of East Tennessee seeks to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that already exists in young people by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed.  Junior Achievement (JA) works with youth through an array of programs that teach children how they can turn their ideas into tangible results.  


Learning How to Succeed with Junior Achievement


JA partners with educators, volunteers and business partners to bring about their mission: “To ensure that every child throughout East Tennessee has a fundamental understanding of the free enterprise system.”  JA wants to encourage young people to think for themselves and imagine their own ways of being independently successful.  Through JA’s Economic Education Programs, children are being taught the fundamentals of financial management so that they can become educated and make smart money decisions as they reach adulthood, thereby possibly avoiding financial pitfalls that could be potentially devastating to their lives.  


Economic Education Programs


Junior Achievement offers multiple courses that educate young people about economic principals using age-appropriate teaching strategies.  Early elementary school students learn the basics of how jobs and businesses operate in a community.  As they approach the end of elementary school, children are introduced to the concrete concept of entrepreneurship and encouraged to start actively considering how being an entrepreneur can impact individuals as well as how it can improve entire communities.  Elementary school students also can participate in BizTown, a program that provides students with interactive learning activities that are based on a simulated town, which helps them attain a visual of how abstract concepts are applied to real-world settings.  


Starting in 6th grade, kids are taught about personal finances and how to use personal strengths and interests to fuel a career path.  Global economic themes are also introduced and expanded upon, as children learn how worldwide issues affect the U.S. economy.  In high school, programs are geared toward critical thinking and application of learned economic principles as well as providing realistic examples via web simulations.  Focus is also placed on specific strategies for obtaining and succeeding in a job.  


Special Events


JA hosts various events throughout the year as opportunities for businesses and individuals to network and to help organizations spread the word about their businesses through charitable functions.  


Popular events include the Bowl-A-Thon, Golf Tournament, Annual Auction and Beer Bacon & BBQ Classic.  
Junior Achievement of East Tennessee has been very successful in equipping countless children with the tips and tools they need to navigate the complex business world that surrounds us.  JA continues a 40-plus year legacy of providing a unique service that has benefited not only individual students, but the Blount County community at large.  To learn how to get involved in this impactful organization, visit JA at

Member Spotlight: Blount County Good Neighbors

April 15, 2017   -   0 comments

When someone is in the midst of a crisis, it can be difficult to know where to turn.  Good Neighbors of Blount County, Tennessee wants to help with a mission to “help lift Blount County neighbors out of a temporary crisis.”  Good Neighbors was created in 1996 out of a need for a central organization that could specifically handle the increasing benevolence requests from Blount County residents.  Good Neighbors is dedicated to making sure that everyone has an opportunity to receive the help and support they need when going through a difficult time in life.  


Neighbors Helping Their Neighbors


Good Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that is funded by churches, civic groups and individuals.  The groups that work alongside Good Neighbors are called partners, and most referrals happen through partner organizations.  When these groups come across someone in need who has a situation that will require ongoing support and attention, it can be difficult for a church or individual to provide sufficient support.  That’s where Good Neighbors comes in.  When a partner refers someone to Good Neighbors, they can be assured that the resident will receive resources that will see them through the crisis resolution process, from beginning to end.     


Good Neighbors has a specific process for helping that ensures that everyone receives exactly the type of help they need.  First, the person seeking assistance calls Good Neighbors and sets up an initial appointment during which they meet with a trained coach.  The coach works together with the resident and creates a plan for how to improve their situation through monetary assistance, financial planning, and any other necessary avenue that will allow the resident to get onto a successful path and break any existing cycle that is interfering with self-sufficiency.  


Residents receive one-time financial assistance, such as payment of a bill, if necessary.  If the bill is very substantial, the resident will be asked to come up with a portion of the money themselves.  One way they can accomplish this is through pledges from churches or other organizations. The pledges will only be released when the resident has the entire amount needed to pay the bill.  Good Neighbors, along with any organizations that have made pledges, then contact the utility company or landlord directly and make a payment to the resident’s account.  Once the resident is caught up on financial needs, they can move on with the rest of their plan, which often includes creating and sticking with a specified budget.  Good Neighbors continues to make follow up calls to check on the resident and offer further suggestions if needed.  


Volunteer and Support Opportunities Available


Volunteers are crucial to the ongoing success of Good Neighbors.  There is only one paid staff member, so donations in the form of volunteer time are always appreciated.  Financial donations are also needed, and Good Neighbors holds benefits and charity drives throughout the year to bring awareness to the community and help raise funds.  


Good Neighbors is meeting an important need in the Blount County community and is providing solutions that have helped countless residents get back on their feet.  To learn more about Good Neighbors or to donate, visit their website at

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