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This year, the Kingsport Aquatic Center’s 100 Mile Swim Club is setting off on the Ultimate “Swim” Trip, its biggest challenge to date.

The route is set: a 13,580 mile journey that stretches from Acadia National Park in Maine to the San Andreas Fault in California and every major U.S. landmark in between. The Kingsport Aquatic Center is challenging participants to work together to “travel” across the country and hit as many of the 50 landmarks as possible before the end of 2019.

“Some of these places, you might not get a chance to go to,” said KAC assistant director Chassy Smiley. “But with the Ultimate ‘Swim’ Trip, we’ll make it to the landmarks in spirit together and get a chance to learn about each one.”

Participants will swim at their own pace throughout the year, and the KAC staff will keep track of individuals’ miles and the club’s collective progress. A map in the KAC lobby will display the entire route and give information about what landmarks the club has made it to.

If 13,580 miles sounds daunting, remember the 100 Mile Swim Club’s motto: Every mile counts, every yard matters! The Ultimate “Swim” Trip is possible only through collective effort.

Interested swimmers can join the club for $10 for KAC members and $20 for nonmembers. All participants will receive a 2019 100 Mile Swim Club t-shirt, and anyone may join at any time throughout the year.

To sign up for the 100 Mile Swim Club, visit the Kingsport Aquatic Center front desk or call (423)343-9758. For more information about the 100 Mile Swim Club, visit https://www.swimkingsport.com/centennial-swim-club/.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to all citizens of the Kingsport Tennessee-Virginia area and the public at large, there will be a Public Meeting of the Kingsport Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MTPO) Executive Board on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 1:30 P.M. (EST) in the City Hall Council Room, 225 West Center Street, in (downtown) Kingsport, Tennessee. Copies of the agenda and supporting documentation can be found in the MTPO office in the Improvement Building, City Hall, and the Kingsport Public Library in addition to the following website: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/kmtpo. The primary items for this meeting include election of a Vice Chair, an amendment to the FY17-21 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and adoption of updated Safety Performance Targets as established by TDOT and VDOT. A public hearing will also be held in order to receive comments and questions on these or other items pertaining to the Kingsport Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization. Disabled citizens wishing to attend and needing special accommodations or anyone seeking further information on the MTPO meeting should contact William A. Albright at (423) 224-2677. For persons with disabilities or limited English proficiency, contact VDOT’s Civil Rights Division at 804-786-2085 or by mail 1401 E Broad St, Richmond, Virginia 23219. In Tennessee you may contact TDOT’s Civil Rights Office at (615) 714-3169. If you have a hearing or speech disability or use a TTY please use the FCC 711 dialing code to access a Telecommunications Relay Service to forward your comment. Kingsport MTPO ensures nondiscrimination and equal employment in all programs and activities in accordance with Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Si usted necesita la traducción por favor entre en contacto con el MTPO en por el teléfono en 423-224-2677.

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Kingsport Area Transit Service (KATS) will offer free rides on the bus routes all day long Friday, January 18, to celebrate our Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. If you have considered using Kingsport’s public transit service, now is a great time to try it out with a free ride!

KATS is offering a calendar of yearly promotions for 2019 in order to give the community an opportunity to experience the benefits of public transit as well as to thank those passengers who are already KATS transit supporters. Make sure you take advantage of these promotions, and tell your friends and family members! Visit www.kingsporttransit.org or check out KATS on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the monthly promotions!

WHAT: Free bus rides in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

WHERE: Route buses

WHEN: Friday, January 18th, 2019

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttransit.org.

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This month, Bonnie Macdonald retires from the City of Kingsport, a place that’s all the richer for her commitment to creativity and public art.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in promoting, producing and advocating for the arts in this community and in our state,” Macdonald said. “I have been so blessed by my fellow city employees both in my department and throughout the city as well as our elected leadership, who have been willing to help, advise and encourage.”

For the past 14 years, Macdonald has spearheaded the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, where she and her colleagues have worked hard to invigorate and connect the local creative community. In 2007, she and the newly-established Public Art Committee had their first major success when they established the city’s first Sculpture Walk. This installation has continued to grow in the years since, and many of the pieces have become part of Kingsport’s permanent public art collection. Any drive through downtown will show firsthand the impact Macdonald has had on this city.

Another project that Macdonald’s team led could easily be considered public art: the Kingsport Carousel. Though it took years to create, the story of Kingsport artists coming together to learn new skills and craft a carousel essentially from the ground up is one that won’t be forgotten.

Macdonald also oversaw the Engage Kingsport Performing Arts series and the annual Christmas Connection craft show in addition to managing Kingsport’s event spaces like the Renaissance Arts Center and the Kingsport Farmers Market building. She also has a long resume of serving on various boards and committees, from founding board member of the Kingsport Ballet to President of the Board of Directors of Tennesseans for the Arts. She has been married to Dr. Scott Macdonald for 35 years, and together they have two grown daughters.

Though Macdonald’s time with the Office of Cultural Arts is at an end, her involvement in the Kingsport arts scene isn’t. She will continue to work with Engage Kingsport, the Office of Cultural Arts’ nonprofit arm, on forging more creative connections and innovations that Kingsport residents will benefit from for years to come.

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The mysteries and wonders of the universe are within reach at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium. This January, the planetarium presents two fascinating shows: “The Dark Matter Mystery – Exploring a Cosmic Secret” and “Appalachian Skies – Winter.”

The main feature, “Dark Matter Mystery” explores questions that researchers all over the world are trying to answer. What keeps galaxies together? What are the building blocks of the universe, and what makes it look the way it does today? Approximately a quarter of the universe is filled with a mysterious glue—dark matter. Scientists know it’s out there, but what it’s made out of is one of the biggest questions in contemporary astrophysics. In this planetarium show, join scientists on their hunt for dark matter with experiments in space and deep underground. Will they be able to solve the “Dark Matter Mystery?”

“Appalachian Skies – Winter” is the alternate feature for January and February. This show will take the audience on a tour of the evening sky using the spectacular Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector instrument, which generates a stunning star field using fiber optics. Produced in-house and led by planetarium staff, this show will teach guests what constellations and planets are easily visible in our winter skies. By the show’s end, guests will be able to locate these sights for themselves at home.

Beginning on January 2, “Dark Matter Mystery” will play Tuesday through Friday at 4 p.m. and weekends at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Catch this exciting show before its run ends on April 28. The planetarium’s alternate feature plays Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., from January 5 to February 24. Both shows last approximately 35 minutes.

Planetarium tickets are $5 per person. Children ages five and younger receive free admission with a paying adult, and Park Association members also receive free admission. For more information on Bays Mountain’s planetarium shows or group ticket costs, please visit baysmountain.com or call (423)229-9447.

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Kingsport taxpayers and ratepayers can rest assured their tax dollars are managed wisely. The city once again received a clean opinion for the FY2018 CAFR – Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, the highest opinion a CPA firm can issue. Continuing a long tradition of excellence, this is the 19th year in a row receiving the highest opinion.

The CAFR document is a detailed review of city government (including schools, utilities, and economic development). It covers 37 separate funds and all manner of financial issues from debt to assets.

“Maintaining the public trust is of paramount importance – and the most fundamental metric is how we perform in finance and audit,” said Jeff Fleming, city manager. “This is a statement that our money is properly accounted for and employees are held to the highest standards of financial integrity.”

The auditors found no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies during their review of the city’s financial controls and operations.

The Audit Committee Chair and Vice Mayor Mike McIntire noted that the audit was exceptional. “In my eight years as Chair of the Audit Committee and my extensive experience in the private and non-profit sector, this is the best audit I’ve ever seen, and I am so proud of our Finance Department,” said McIntire.

“Our staff deserves a tremendous amount of praise because they are doing an excellent job of maintaining consistent reporting at the highest level,” said Fleming. “A special thank you to Jim Demming and Lisa Winkle for their diligence.”

S&P reaffirmed the city’s AA bond rating, which was upgraded in 2017, for their financial management assessment of the city from “good” to “strong” due to financial management policies put in place by the BMA. The BMA has adopted a financial management and fund balance policy and continues to make progress on replenishing the city’s “rainy day” fund.

S&P, one of the most respected firms on Wall Street, said of Kingsport’s financial review:

  • Strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA)
  • Strong management, with good financial policies and practices
  • Strong budgetary performance, with a slight operating surplus in the general fund
  • Very strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance
  • Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash and access to external liquidity
  • Weak debt and contingent liability position, but rapid amortization (66.4% retired in 10 years)
  • Very strong institutional framework score.
To view the CAFR document, please visit kingsporttn.gov and search CAFR or click here.
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From the Tennessee Planning Leadership Council (TPLC), Lynn Tully received the Distinguished Planner Award for her achievements in drafting a comprehensive growth plan of innovative, yet sound principals of planning, sharing of planning expertise through teaching and speaking, and being integrally involved in the continued operation of the accredited city planning program.

Tully has been in the development field for over 20 years with degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology – a Master of City Planning and Bachelor of Science Architecture. She has managed a variety of public sector fields including planning, building, codes enforcement, engineering and economic development.

She has received both AICP and CEcD certifications and is a current member of ICSC, AICP, and IEDC and TEDC.  She has also been active with TAPA and GPA throughout her career. She frequently presents at conferences and recently showcased an innovative housing incentive program with the AARC. Her work in housing garnered an appointment to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency Board from Governor Haslam where she chairs the tax credit committee awarding more than $400M in multi-family bonds for low-moderate income housing units annually.

The TPLC was established by the American Planning Association Tennessee Chapter in 2011 to recognize those members who have illustrated contributions to the Chapter, as well as demonstrated enhancement in planning research and ordinance development, regulation or plan preparation and the overall profession of planning in the State of Tennessee.

Tully is married to David Tully, with 3 sons, Liam, Frederic, and Xavier. She is currently serving as Secretary for the Greater Kingsport YMCA Board, and Scholarship Chair for the Northeast Tennessee Georgia Tech Alumni Club. She is also an Active member of Fall Branch UMC, an avid reader and fly fisherman, and part-time home tinkerer.

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.