‘Recipes to CROW About’

‘Recipes to CROW About’

CROW set to launch first ever cookbook

Published in Sanibel-Captiva Islander July 29, 2015 issue

A unique fundraising effort that includes the public’s participation of an original idea created by one of CROW’s volunteers is in full swing.


Cecilia Tweedy, head of the CROW cookbook committee and longtime volunteer, said the idea of creating a cookbook surfaced in February after brainstorming fundraising ideas. She said on a whim she created a proposal and shared it with the executive director of CROW, who told her to run with the cookbook idea.

The adventures of figuring out how to put a cookbook together began as she visited stores seeking information and ideas about what paper to use for the cookbook, as well as which printers to use.

“They were explaining things in a different language,” she said laughing. “I don’t understand bond and thickness, all of which I had samples of.”

With not fully grasping all the information that was shared, Tweedy decided to contact The Sanibel School and ask if she could meet with someone from the art department. The phone call put her in touch with Tylor Stewart and 10 fifth grade students.

Tweedy said Stewart and her students were writing an organic cookbook at the time because they have an organic garden at the school.

“I met with the children at the school and was honestly overwhelmed,” she said.

After arriving at the school, Tweedy was greeted by 10 kids with folders who introduced themselves through a handshake. She said after she explained her problem the kids opened their folders and one at a time asked three questions, some of which included what is your marketing plan and what size cookbook do you want to use.

“Throughout the whole process these 10 children, who have submitted 10 recipes, have been totally supportive of this book and of CROW,” Tweedy said. “They helped me choose the bond and the size of the cookbook. Incredible. Incredible.”

Since the children became supportive of CROW she asked how many had visited the facility, which resulted in about half of them raising their hand. On Feb. 19, the 10 children were led on a tour of the entire facility, which resulted in them becoming bigger ambassadors and supporters of CROW.

“Their power, plus the proposal got me going . . . got me on track and I knew where I had to go,” Tweedy said.

From there, she formed a committee of folks who volunteer at CROW who met on a weekly basis. On April 24, the committee felt they had a great handle on how the cookbook will look and what it will contain.

The philosophy of the cookbook is “healthy recipes written with clarity.”

“From the design of the cover to the separation of categories, to the dedication is just spectacular. It’s going to be a legacy for CROW, honestly,” Tweedy said. “It’s going to be really wonderful. We chose great colors and I think everybody is going to be really thrilled with it.”

The cookbook, which bares the name “Recipes to CROW About featuring Taste of the Island Restaurants,” will contain 250 recipes from such groups as the 27 restaurants who participate in Taste of the Islands, CROW volunteers and the general public.

The community can submit recipes by emailing them to crowrecipes@gmail.com. Tweedy said those interested should include the name of the recipe, ingredients and their name in the email. The committee is taste testing the recipes before they are formatted for the cookbook.

Those who wish to contribute are asked to send the recipes as soon as possible, so they can be formatted for the cookbook.

“I got 27 recipes from Facebook,” Tweedy said Thursday morning. “Most of which are from island people and volunteers.”

The cookbook is split into five categories – appetizers, main dishes, vegetarian dishes, soup and salad and dessert. Throughout the cookbook five inserts will be included providing helpful hints for cooking.

Tweedy said she hopes to launch the cookbook at Taste of the Islands.

“The profits will go towards CROW,” she said, adding “Not only are we going to produce a cookbook for $20, but it’s an eBook as well. You can take your cookbook anywhere you want.”

“Recipes to CROW About,” will also be available on Amazon.

“It will be a healthy contribution for CROW in terms of profit because we all have done the work,” Tweedy said.

‘There is nothing more American’

‘There is nothing more American’

Bring your dogs to the next Miracle game

Published in Sanibel Captiva Islander July 22, 2015 issue

Baseball fans and their four-legged friends are invited to attend the next Miracle baseball game this Friday at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Illy and Lucy.

Illy and Lucy

“There is nothing more American than baseball and bringing your dog out to the game,” Bill Levy, director of ticket operations and sales advisor for Fort Myers Miracle, said.

This Friday’s game, July 24, at 7:05 p.m. against the Tampa Yankees, marks the fourth “Dog Daze of Summer” program offered at the stadium. The final and fifth program offered this summer will be held on Friday, Aug. 14.

The program is a promotion Fort Myers Miracle began that has really taken off over the years. Levy said they are averaging anywhere from 150 to 200 dogs ranging from small to large each game. He said some people bring two or three dogs with them.

Illy and Lucy

Illy and Lucy

“This year we have seen a jump of (fans) taking their dogs to the game. It has seen growth every year the team has done it,” he said. “It’s probably one of our most anticipated programs. It has become a staple here. People look forward to it.”

Although there are no restrictions for the fan’s dogs, Levy said they ask that all dogs are kept on a leash, are well-behaved and not aggressive towards other dogs and fans. He said they want the dogs to complement the family-friendly atmosphere that Fort Myers Miracle offers.

The July 24 game will feature the Lee County Domestic Animal Service and its food drive. Attendees are asked to bring donations of dry and canned dog food, cat littler, wipes, tissues and paper towels. Levy said anyone that brings a donation will receive $2 off general admission tickets the day of the game.

Pet friendly vendors also will be present during the Friday game. Levy said Glamour Paws, Pet Supermarket and Invisible Fence are among some of the businesses that will be in attendance.



All American Pet Resort will have its mascot at the game and kiddie pools will be set up around Hammond Stadium for the dogs to splash in and cool off.

Andrea Miller with the Sanibel Recreation Center said they always try to pull together at least one activity a month for the community to enjoy. For the month of July they decided to provide tickets at the center for the “Dog Daze of Summer” Miracle Game this Friday.

“They give us a group discount rate,” she said, adding that residents and tourists can “come here and pick them up.”

Tickets, which are $9.75 for adults and children, are available at the Sanibel Recreation Center through Wednesday, July 22, or while supplies last.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road. For more information, call (239) 472-0345.



Levy encourages everyone, whether they enjoy baseball or not, to attend the game.

“This is just a fun event for everyone,” he said. “People seem to be more in a good mood when they are around dogs and animals. They have an extra step to them when people are around animals. (Animals) tend to bring out the best in people.”

Levy said the baseball players also get involved in the festivities while taking pictures with their fan’s dogs.

Tickets purchased at the stadium the night of the game are $8 for general admission and $10 for box seats.

‘Golden Hour’

Level I Trauma Center opens in Chandler Regional

Published April 5, 2014 in SanTan Sun News

After planning for more than a year, Chandler Regional Medical Center received provisional status as a Level I Trauma Center from the Arizona Department of Health Services. It began taking patients on Monday, March 24.

“We can do anything that all the Level I Trauma Centers can do in the state,” says Chandler Regional Medical Center Trauma Program Manager Lori Wass, who began working at the center on April 1, 2013.

Although there are only three designated rooms in the emergency department for trauma patients, the center has the ability to see more of the injured because once they are stabilized, they can be moved out of those rooms.

The center will provide service for Pinal and Maricopa counties. The center had to obtain funds for equipment, special stretchers and cabinets to help organize supplies for neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.

More than $10 million has already been invested in the center. According to Director of Public Relations and Marketing Julie Graham, the Dignity Health Foundation of the East Valley has provided $1,150,000 in funding for the center from donations.

It will cost between $8 million and $10 million annually to maintain it, says Chandler Regional Trauma Medical Director Dr. Forrest (Dell) Moore.

There are Level I Trauma Centers in downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale, but, due to growth, this one was needed, Moore says.

“There isn’t a close enough trauma center for patients in the Southeast Valley and Pinal (County),” he says.

He also chalks up the decision to the vital “golden hour,” that important time period in which those suffering traumatic injuries must be seen.

Wass says recent data shows that in Maricopa County 42 percent of patients reached a trauma facility within the golden hour. Of those injured in Pinal County, only 10 percent of them received treatment within the first 60 minutes.

“Fifty-eight percent in Maricopa County and 90 percent in Pinal County did not get to a Level I Trauma in 60 minutes,” Moore says. “We can increase those odds significantly. The closer you are to a Level I Trauma Center, the better the outcome. It is in the perfect location to treat patients in Southeast Valley and Pinal County.”

In addition to providing trauma patients with faster care, the center, Moore explains, will also keep families closer to home because they no longer have to travel to downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale. EMS travel time is also cut in half.

Moore says the center in Chandler will affect Maricopa and Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn medical centers, but it’s more important to serve the needs of the community and decrease the risk of death and complications due to prolonged transportation times.

An expected 1,500 to 2,000 trauma patients a year will be admitted to the hospital from minor to severe injuries. Moore says some of those include complex hand injuries, chest and abdominal injuries, pelvic fractures from a blunt mechanism, car accident or fall, or stab or gunshot wounds.

“We have all the specialists onboard to be able to care for any traumatic injury,” he says.

There are approximately 15 specialty groups at the center with multiple physicians within each specialty. Moore says they have six surgeons in trauma care, multiple orthopedic trauma surgeons, four neurosurgeons, as well as many hand surgeons, plastic surgeons and vascular surgeons. Others include anesthesiologists, nurses and ancillary services.

Wass says trauma surgeons are at the center 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the other surgeons are always on call. Overall, there are up to 70 physicians caring for trauma patients.

“We are very excited to be a Level I Trauma facility and we are looking forward to giving the care to individuals in the community and their families,” Wass says.

The Level I Trauma Center’s designation is in conjunction with the hospital’s expansion project that is scheduled to open later this year. The expansion at Tower C will add 96 beds, expand the emergency department an increase the operating room capacity.


‘I’m tickled to death’

There is something about interviewing students and teachers that brings a new kind of excitement over me. I interviewed a teacher at David Crockett High School in Jonesborough, Tenn. last week regarding a robotics team that brought two rivalry high schools together. His excitement was contagious.

This particular subject always grabs my attention, due to a team I wrote about on Pine Island, FL. while I was the editor for the Pine Island Eagle. It’s amazing what these kids do when they work together as a team.

Boone, Crockett students team up to manufacture the perfect robot

Published Feb. 25, 2014

With their robot stored safely away, students of David Crockett and Daniel Boone High Schools are focusing on final preparations for the First Robotics Competition.

Guy McAmis, drafting instructor at David Crockett High School, said the group kicked off this year’s First Robotics Competition at the University of Tennessee on Jan. 4.

A collaboration of 12 students from Daniel Boone High School and 12 students from David Crockett High School make up the team that began forming last year.

“It was open to all students that wanted to come into the First Robotics Team,” McAmis said. “We have two rival schools that have come together to build a robot.”

Sophomore student Ethan Riddle of David Crockett High School got involved by joining the programming team when it first formed with three other students. He said he has enjoyed his experience of working on the robot, as well as learning about programming.

Last fall, McAmis traveled to Cherokee High School with the team to help that school’s First Robotics Team get a better understanding of the competition.

“On the bus trip back, our students came up with the (name) Musket Alliance,” he said. “They did it as a team effort.”

After the team was formed, a corporation was created with a CEO and board, on which McAmis sits, as does David Shell from Daniel Boone High School.

When the rookie team traveled to the University of Tennessee last month, they were required to execute a robot quick build from a kit that was provided to them. The kit was equipped with such basics as the frame, a set of wheels and all the electronics.

“It comes with enough to make a running robot out of the box,” McAmis said. “All the extras we had to buy separately.”

Fundraising efforts started last year when McAmis told his students he would shave his mustache if they raised $2,000 by the end of the football season. The students were successful.

Several companies also made donations to the team, so they could purchase additional parts. Those include S.E.A.M.S. LLC; Grainger, Fastenal; Valley Equipment of Jonesborough; United Grinding; Eastman Chemical Co. and Energy Systems Group, LLC.

When the students began putting together their robot last month, they decided it would defend the field to make it difficult for another team to score. Riddle said the robot defends the goal with its lift that can be raised and arm that extends outwards.

This year, the robots have to shoot a 24-inch exercise ball through a hoop to score points. Riddle said their idea is to get the exercise ball in either the high goal that is around 7 feet in the air or into two low goals.

“Our robot is also  defending against other teams,” he said.

The students clocked between 60 to 75 hours after school working on their robot from Jan. 4 to Feb. 18 before it was ready to  “bag and tag” for the competition.

“It was a lot of fun working with the kids,” McAmis said. “They did the design and drawing. We sat back and watched them.”

He said the students know how to put the robot together and take it apart on their own.

“I’m tickled to death,” McAmis said. “They jumped in there.”

Six students worked on building the robot. The work was done at David Crockett High School due to the availability of the machine shop to build parts. A playing field was set up at Daniel Boone High School for practice.

Mitchell Roop, a teacher at David Crockett High School helped the students with programming, which included a trip to Eastman Chemical Co.

Riddle said the classes they attended at Eastman Chemical Co. were really helpful in programming the robot.

“Learning how to do (the programing) is a rewarding thing,” Riddle said.

Although the build team, electric team and programming team are no longer allowed to work on the robot, there is still plenty to do to get ready for the competition.

McAmis said the rules and safety team have a lot to do to prepare.

“I think we did well,” McAmis said about the students building the robot. “It’s been a great experience.”

Ten of the Washington County 5022 Musket Alliance team members will head to the Knoxville Convention Center March 26-29 to compete in the FRC regionals.

“I would love for people of Washington County to come and watch,” McAmis said.

On Friday, March, 28, the Musket Alliance will be paired with other teams as they try and score points. Five students are allowed in the pit area during the competition. The remaining students will scout the other teams to see whom they want to be aligned with for Saturday’s competition, March 29.

Riddle said his programming team will be located in the driver’s station at the competition.

The station has two joysticks and a computer. He will operate the computer and make adjustments to the robot if necessary.

Riddle said he is excited about going to the competition.

“It’s been enjoyable, but it has been a lot of work for myself and David Shell over at Boone,” McAmis said.

With that said, he thinks they will probably try and keep the FRC team going next year.

‘I just find time’

I pitched a story idea to my editor after attending the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last week in Jonesborough, Tenn, which she loved. This woman was recognized for her dedication to the community.

This morning I woke up to a wonderful email from Dona. This made my day.   

“Meghan, Thank you for the nice article about me.  It was as though you knew me personally!!  I heard so many nice compliments from friends and other readers.” – Dona Lewis

Town declares Feb. 14 as ‘Dona Lewis Day’

Published Feb. 18, 2014 in the Herald & Tribune

Last week, the Town of Jonesborough recognized Dona Lewis for her countless hours of service to the community by dedicating Feb. 14 as Dona Lewis Appreciation Day of Jonesborough.

“You are a very special person, someone that embodies the spirit of Jonesborough and a person that loves her community,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said during the Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting on Feb. 10.

Lewis said she was surprised about the proclamation.

“I was humbled; I think it was very nice for him to do it,” she said.

She said Wolfe had asked her to attend the BMA meeting, but she thought it was because of her involvement in the Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association.

“Kelly did a beautiful job as he always does,” Lewis said of the proclamation.

She also said her volunteer work is not done alone.

“I am heavily involved, but I don’t do it alone. There is always someone working with me,” Lewis said. “It takes a village.”

She moved to Jonesborough in 1995 from New Jersey after visiting the area since 1981. She said her and her husband, Chuck, started traveling to Jonesborough because her brother had lived in the area at the time.

“We started to come for visits and for storytelling and just fell in love with the area, but having my brother here helped. He was the draw,” she said.

The sense of community that the Town of Jonesborough provides is what she really enjoys.

“I just love the small town atmosphere and the fact that everyone knows everyone else,” Lewis said. “I just love this town. I love the people in it. It’s been very good for us to be here.”

The acceptance she felt from the Town of Jonesborough started in the early 1980s and has produced friendships of 30 years.

The Lewises opened Franklin House Bed and Breakfast in 1997, seven years after they started working on the business. The house that dates back to the 1840’s has three rooms, plus a guest apartment on the lower level.

Her favorite part about owning a bed and breakfast is meeting people.

“We have met the nicest people here,” she said.

In addition to running her business, she also finds time to be involved in the events that JAMSA hosts. Some of those events include the Taste of Jonesborough, a chili cook off contest and the turkey toss.

“The idea is to help bring business into Jonesborough by running events and working with the merchants,” Lewis said.

She’s also involved in Friends of the Library, as well as being a committee member for Music on the Square and Main Street Jonesborough.

“I just find time,” Lewis said of juggling everything. “It’s a little stressful at times, but I can do it. It’s amazing how you can sort your time out.”

‘An authentic Tennessee moonshine distillery’

This article has been an ongoing topic I have been covering for the last month or so for the Herald & Tribune. A young Jonesborough resident is slowly clearing hurdle after hurdle to put a craft distillery in downtown Jonesborough, Tenn.

For my past articles click on the links below:

Distillery coming to Jonesborough:


Proposed distillery gets planning OK: https://meghan80.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/a-made-with-love-distilling-company/

With one ‘no’ vote cast . . .

Future downtown distillery clears next hurdle

Published in Feb. 18, 2014 Herald & Tribune

Stephen Callahan, who hopes to open a distillery in downtown Jonesborough later this year, received nearly the full support of the Board of Mayor and Alderman during an ordinances first reading last week – minus one vote.

Alderman Homer G’Fellers voted against the ordinance, he said, because of his personal beliefs.

“I have never voted for any type of alcohol in the town of Jonesborough,” he said.

G’Fellers said he believes a small quaint town like Jonesborough does not need a distillery business.  That belief, he said has nothing to do with the distillery itself or Callahan.

“We are really excited that we got the blessing of the Mayor and the Alderman’s,” Callahan said the next day. “We are really happy with last night’s outcome. That is a big victory and it makes me feel a lot better personally to know the mayor and alderman have supported this.”

The board’s approval, Callahan said, reassured him and his supporters that they are doing something possible and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to opening a distillery in town.

The BMA approved an ordinance that creates a Distilling Company Overlay Zone, as well as an amendment for the Jonesborough Zoning map. The map provides Callahan with the opportunity to submit a site plan when applying for state and federal permits.

Although the state allows for the manufacturing of wine or liquor, the town determines where a distillery can be located within town limits. An overlay zone is established for appropriate locations by the town for retail liquor stores.

“This is not about a specific venue yet,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “It’s about a zone to allow the venue to exist.”

Callahan has been working with Doug Lowrie, the owner of the Salt House, for the craft distillery business location.

“It will allow Doug and I to continue to finalize the formal lease agreements,” he said of the board’s decision. “It gives me a piece of mind knowing that Jonesborough is going to support us.”

According to the Town of Jonesborough, the intent of the Distilling Overlay District is to “provide suitable locations for the possible operation of a distilling company meeting all state and federal requirements that legally manufactures and sells intoxicating liquors within the corporate limits of the Town of Jonesborough.” The purpose. according to town documents, is to enhance the local economy, while increasing the town’s potential, all while ensuring the safety and welfare of visitors and residents.

A distilling company can be located in the overlay zone if the manufacturing building is 500 feet away from an active church or school or 150 feet away if located in a central business district.

In order to be located in the overlay zone, a submitted site plan including the availability of parking; adequate pedestrian access; schematic of the building; an odor control plan and a business plan must be submitted to the Jonesborough Regional Planning Commission for approval.

Approval is also required from the Historic Zoning Commission, if the building is located in the historic district, for exterior building improvements and signage. Before a regular certificate of occupancy is issued, a landscape plan must be submitted to the Tree and Townscape Board.

The Jonesborough Regional Planning Commission will also review and approve the site plan and use of the property.

Alderman Chuck Vest said a distillery is a good opportunity for downtown, possibly establishing something to grow with years to come.

Callahan said he now has the business license and is starting to pursue the legal paperwork as far as bonds and permits from the federal and state government. He said as soon as he obtains the federal permits, the ball will really start rolling for the business.

“It’s becoming more of a reality every day,” he said about his dream of creating an authentic Tennessee moonshine distillery.

Callahan said within the next month he hopes to start ordering equipment for the distillery.

“This is my hometown,” he said of Jonesborough. “I feel really honored to bring a unique business to my hometown.”

His hope is to put the best legally made Tennessee moonshine on liquor store shelves across America.

“We are going to be a professional business and operate in a professional manner in respect to the town,” Callahan said. “We are trying to bring a quality, sophisticated distillery into the town of Jonesborough. We are hard working people taking a leap of faith and hopefully have something to be proud of.”

The ordinance will become affective after the passage of the second and final reading takes place.

Search training to keep schools safe

At times it’s a little scary to learn about the new ways individuals are hiding weapons. The Washington County Department of Education has partnered with the Sheriff’s Office for the past three years to give its administrators the tools needed to do proper searches while the students are on campus.

Workshop provides search training to help keep schools safe

Published Feb. 4, 2014 in the Herald & Tribune

The Washington County Department of Education is partnering with the Sheriff’s Office to provide its staff with the correct training on how to search students.

“We feel like that is one area that schools should cover — the  proper searching of students in the school setting,” Assistant Director of Schools for Attendance and Discipline James Murphy said.

Murphy said the Supreme Court has maintained that students do not shed their constitutional rights when on a school campus.

In order to have a safe environment, however, students can be searched under reasonable suspicion, Murphy said. That is a lower standard set by the courts than what is generally accepted on the streets, he added, which requires a search warrant or probable cause.

All administrators for Washington County schools are required to have search training.

“We keep a list of new administrators coming in and we make sure, periodically, that every administrator in the school system has had this training,” Murphy said.

A two-hour search workshop was held on Jan. 23 for 38 school employees at Asbury Optional High School in Johnson City.

“Some schools have not had a change since their administrators had the course. We didn’t require them to come,” he said. “But we did ask every school to send someone.”

Some schools sent guidance counselors and teachers, Murphy added.  School Resource Officers also participated in the training.

Every Washington County school has a resource officer assigned, with some officers assigned to two or three schools, Murphy said.

During the training, participants are given a list of the type of school searches that could be done, as well as a list of forbidden searches on school campuses. Examples were then provided through role play.

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal said the search workshop shows staff how to do a pat down safely in the different quadrants of the body, as well as how to protect themselves. He said two people should always be present during a pat down.

Another part of the training focuses on types of weapons, as well as the styles of clothing used to hide them. “We try to cover every scenario that we have run into,” Graybeal said.

In one exercise, 37 weapons, both guns and knives, were hidden for participants to find. That exercise is important, Graybeal said, because some weapons can look as innocent as a pen.

Since some of the clothing also have pouches to hide guns, he said they showed how to look for weapons in that scenario.

Murphy said there are essentially two school searches that are done.

“A good legal school search would be divided into two major areas, which is the jacket search with pockets turned out and the other search, which is rarely ever done, would be a pat down,” he said.

The most common search, Murphy said is a jacket and pocket search.

“We don’t encourage pat downs. Pat downs are not necessary unless there is a real substantial fear that the student has a weapon,” he said.

An exercise involving a backpack was also held during the workshop to show how to proceed once it is laid down on a table.

The importance of noticing the out-of-the-ordinary is also stressed. If someone shows up wearing a coat during the summer months, Graybeal said, it should be investigated.

The workshop, he said, is about showing school staff what is out there and how to look for certain items.

“It’s a good course, it’s very informative of what to look for and how to look for it,” Graybeal said. “It was a good day for us, a good informative day.”

Murphy said the workshop also included instruction on verbal judo by Dr. Ginger Christian. The technique teaches true listening, hearing what a person is saying and diffusing the anger.

“Occasionally in the school system, we have parents who are upset, sometimes upset by someone else,” Murphy said.

“We need to learn how to listen to them and address their concerns without becoming emotionally involved.”

Graybeal said the workshops are held upon the schools’ request.

He said the WCSO appreciates the opportunity to work with the Washington County schools to help them stay safe.

‘I had no negative feelings’

I really enjoyed interviewing Kitty, she was a very sweet woman who shared a lot of wisdom regarding overcoming a situation, surviving a hardship from her childhood.

Chandler resident shares story of overcoming abusive childhood

Published Feb. 1 in SanTan Sun News

A Chandler resident who turned to the church at a young age for guidance to help her overcome an abusive childhood is sharing her experiences in a book to help others.

Kitty Chappell released “Soaring Above the Ashes on the Wings of Forgiveness” through Tate Publishers.

Kitty Chappell Photo provided

Kitty Chappell
Photo provided

“I was able to write it because I was able to overcome everything,” Chappell says. “I had no negative feelings.”

The book begins with a double funeral—her father, Clyde, and his second wife, Mary.

“I am sitting at the funeral and then flashing back to my earliest memories of my father’s brutality of when I was a toddler,” she explains.

Clyde threatened to murder Chappell and her two siblings if they tried to escape or seek help. Chappell, her siblings and young mother were able to escape with the help of their out-of-state relatives, which made her father furious. As a result, her father beat Chappell’s mother in the head with a claw hammer. Her mother survived. Clyde was found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in prison for premeditated attempted murder.

Thirty years after Clyde was released, he introduced his family to his second wife, Mary. She was eventually murdered by Clyde before he committed suicide.

“It ends up with the end of the flashback at the double funeral and how I was sitting there as an overcomer and not just a survivor who was shaking my fists mentally at a God in heaven and asking why,” she says.

Chappell says everyone is created with the powerful gift of a choice.

“My father made the choice of wrong choices,” she explains. “I made the right choice at a dramatic turning point at my life at 14.”

Early ambition

Chappell wrote her first poem at age of 8 or 9, and followed that with many published articles and stories. She became a speaker 30 years ago through Stonecroft Ministries, sharing with other women her life story.

Her speeches typically tell the story of her life before she had a spiritual experience, what encouraged her to reach out to God and how her life has changed. For a list of her upcoming appearances, visit kittychappell.com/?page_id=216.

“I have a story and I have a message to tell and that’s what I do,” she says. “They are going to have something to take home and chew on, just as they do when they read my book.”

Now her book is in the development stages of being turned into a film, “The Cry of the Daffodils.”

“It’s amazing the responses that I get from all over the world. It shows that there is such a need,” Chappell says. “My book differs from most books on the market because it is a book about overcoming, not just surviving. Everyone has been hurt by someone. Many people survive tragedies and difficult circumstances, but sadly never overcome their experiences. They just struggle through a dysfunctional life, daily reliving their pain within the framework of a victim mentality. They don’t know how to get rid of their bitterness and pain or even that they should.”

“A ‘made with love’ distilling company

Last week I interviewed Stephen, who is anticipating on opening a new distilling company in Jonesborough Tennessee after a meeting with the Jonesborough Planning Commission. He hopes to have the company up and running by the end of the year.

The first article ran in last week’s paper.  Here is the link to my first article:


Proposed distillery gets planning commission OK

Article published in Jan. 28 issue of the Herald & Tribune

Stephen Callahan is one step closer to opening a distilling company in downtown Jonesborough – a new company that will produce Tennessee moonshine.

Last week, the Jonesborough Planning Commission approved a distilling company overlay zone, as well as a zoning map with specific locations for the new overlay zone, to accommodate the possible business venture.

The commission voted to use Woodrow Avenue as the boundary for the zone that would include the Parson’s Table, the Widow Brown property and the Salt House for the zoning map.

Marcy Hawley, Innkeeper of Hawley House Bed & Breakfast, shared some concerns regarding zoning during the meeting. Her home is located at 114 E. Woodrow Avenue – next door to the Salt House.

“The question is I do not want my house rezoned,” she said. “From the map, it is hard to tell what is rezoned. I do not want to be part of the overlay district. I don’t want the county to think I’m commercial.”

Attorney Jim Wheeler assured her that nothing was going to be rezoned. He explained that the overlay district goes on top of the zoning.

“The zoning stays the same,” Wheeler said. “Within that zone, there is an area that will have different regulations.

Callahan said he noticed the Salt House was available while he was still in the process of researching investment opportunities. He got in contact with the building’s owner, Doug Lowrie, and since then, everything has pointed him toward the pursuit of establishing a distillery business in Jonesborough.

“I’ve been planning this thing for probably a year and a half to two years,” Callahan said.

He has researched the business, looking at similar companies in other areas. Callahan mentioned one distillery, in particular – Dark Corner Distillery in Greeneville, S.C. – that has a similar setting as Jonesborough and became a kind of an inspiration and a business model for him.

“They have done a really good thing down there with tourism in their town,” Callahan said.  “It gave us an idea of what we wanted to do. They make a really high-quality product.”

Board Member Dean Chesnut expressed his excitement about the business opportunity during the meeting.

“It’s an awesome thing for the town,” he said.

Chesnut said distilleries are one of the biggest businesses in the country and he believes it would be a great tourist attraction for Jonesborough.

During Callahan’s presentation, Board Member Chuck Vest asked what kind of noise and odor the distillery would produce.

Callahan assured him that when visiting a Jack Daniels distillery he could not smell any of the odors, that it was all contained within the building. He also said an individual could stand right beside the distillery and not hear any noise.

The equipment Callahan will be using is from Confederate Stills of Alabama. His plans are to eliminate the need of a steam generator by using a peanut oil boiler to cut down the energy usage, which will also be more time efficient.

“We will be the first distillery in the country to have this specific still,” Callahan said. “Rather than having a steamer still, we are going to use peanut oil and heating elements and eliminate a lot of space.”

The equipment will be placed behind a glass wall, so individuals who tour the building can smell and almost feel the distillation process.

“Most of the time you can walk in off the street and I can give you a brief tour,” he said. “I want to operate the still and have the public come in and see the product coming out of the still.”

Callahan said they are keeping to the Salt House era for the distillery. The freight elevator inside of the building is currently being restored, so he will have access to the second floor for storage.

“We are restoring the original elevator that was used in the building,” Callahan said. “It’s a showpiece in itself because it is all hand-operated.”

The Salt House, he explained, will be used as the business’ storefront.

He is already looking ahead, anticipating large demands for his product and the possible expansion into a national market. “Once we get to a certain capacity, we are going to build a secondary production facility in the country,” he said.

But for now, his sights are set squarely on the Salt House. “Our main goal for now is we are going to use the building for immediate exposure,” he said.  “We will always keep the Salt House.”

Callahan plans include producing moonshine at the distillery by using grains from local farmers, adding that he wants to keep everything tied to local businesses when possible.

“Our main product is going to be Tennessee moonshine, a traditional recipe straight from the hills of Tennessee,” he said. “We are local and we want everybody to have the Tennessee moonshine experience. We want to stay true to our history.”

The moonshine will be made in small batches and placed into bottles with Callahan’s signature, as well as the date and batch number at the facility. The label will also include the inscription, “Made in Jonesborough, Tennessee.”

“It’s a personal business for me,” he said. “It’s my personal passion and I want to do it right. I want the customers to feel a personal connection with my product, a ‘made with love’ kind of deal.”

Callahan also hopes to create a series of limited edition bottles that explains the history of Jonesborough on every whiskey. He said that will be something special that will put Jonesborough on the map.

Other opportunities are also being explored to make apple brandy at the distillery.

The proposed business will also include a tasting bar and storefront where individuals can purchase a bottle of moonshine for off premise consumption, as well as merchandise. Callahan hopes to incorporate local crafts, jellies, jams, blacksmith projects and small furniture for the retail portion of the business.

“Hopefully, we can make Jonesborough proud,” he said.

With the approval from the Planning Commission, the item will now go before the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The board will have to approve the overlay zone and map on two readings, including a public hearing.

Callahan said while he waits for the approval from the BMA, he has to apply for his business license and trademark issues. Once the business license is obtained, he said he has to pursue bonds, which is needed to obtain the state and federal permits.

“If you get it right the first time, you can get it done fairly soon,” Callahan said. “It depends on the precision of your application process.”

Right now, he said it’s all a leap of faith as far as the outcome goes.

“Take a leap of faith and just go for it, that’s what we are doing,” Callahan said. “Once we get through the Jonesborough process, I think it’s going to get really exciting.”

If all goes according to plan, Callahan hopes to have the business up and running by the end of the year.

‘I know exactly what I want to do’

I was invited to attend this three-day event, which I unfortunately will not be able to make because it is held in Chandler, Arizona. It sounds like a great way to bring the community together while highlighting science and technology.

Three-day festival highlights science and technology

Published Jan. 18, 2014 in SanTan Sun News

A three-day festival in February will provide a glimpse into the science and technology that makes Chandler tick.

The Chandler Science Spectacular, Thu., Feb. 20, through Sat., Feb. 22, showcases the businesses, artists, students and innovators in the community as part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival.

The Chandler event is comprised of three free happenings.

The Chandler Tech Crawl is 5:30 p.m. Thu., Feb. 20, and features some of the biggest names in science opening their doors to families.

Technology meets the arts during A Night of Art and Science from 6 to 10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 21, as Downtown Chandler transforms its monthly Third Friday Art Walk into a creative look at the science behind the food and drink, beauty, art and invention.

Chandler’s Science Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Feb. 22, has interactive demonstrations by Chandler’s technology companies along with the next generation of science.

“Everything is free,” says Councilman Rick Heumann. “It’s a great event for families. It’s really to showcase what Chandler is all about and the companies that we have.”

Heumann founded the Chandler Education Coalition three years ago to bring the school district, city nonprofits and business community together to benefit students in Chandler.

“It is really designed because everyone has limited funds,” he says.

Heumann and his coalition are behind the localization of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

“More and more cities are stepping up and doing a lot more things,” Heumann says.

The Chandler Science Spectacular, he says, has been successful because of the individuals working behind the scenes.

“Chris Mackay and her team should get some major kudos,” Heumann explains.

City of Chandler Economic Development Director Christine Mackay boasts about the 3-year-old Chandler Tech Crawl on Feb. 20.

“Three of the Chandler companies open their doors and provide tours and scientific demonstrations to see the neat, exciting technology that is happening in Chandler,” she says.

Those businesses include Chandler’s Innovations Incubator, 145 S. 79th St.; Intel, 5000 W. Chandler Blvd., Building CH6; and Infusionsoft, 1260 S. Spectrum Blvd. Mackay is one of the tour guides at Intel.

“The same people come back every year,” she says. “They seem to be really engaged and excited to see what is going on in their community.”

A Night of Art and Science on Feb. 21 takes place at the historic square in downtown Chandler.

“It’s a tremendous draw for the community,” Mackay says. “It’s our best attended third Friday art walk every year.”

Downtown Chandler Community Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Lindley says her organization shows the science and technology behind people’s creative arts.

“We encourage our artists to show a little more about how their craft is created,” Lindley explains.

Typically 60 to 80 artists showcase their art and about half of them offer demonstrations. Last year there was a glass blowing demonstration and SanTan Brewing Co. showcased how to make beer.

The final event, Chandler’s Science Saturday, is Feb. 22.

Air Products demonstrated how to make a frozen fl ower for attendees during last year’s Chandler Science Spectacular, a three-day event that focuses on technology and science. Submitted photo

Air Products demonstrated
how to make a frozen flower for attendees during last year’s Chandler Science Spectacular, a three-day event that focuses on
            technology and science.             Submitted photo

“It’s a good old-fashioned science fair,” Mackay says.Sixty Chandler companies participate in the fair, which closes down Commonwealth Avenue, so the businesses can set up hands-on activities for the attendees. Individuals have the opportunity to move from booth to booth along the street while engaging in science and engineering activities.

“It’s so much fun,” she says.

Arizona State University, University of Arizona and TechShop at the Chandler Innovation Center will have open houses during the event. The Hamilton International Science and Education Festival will also have student projects on display at Hamilton High School.

Mackay remembers watching three little faces last year as they watched an orbital science group, which was the highlight of the event for her.

“You saw the look come over the three little faces: ‘I know exactly what I want to do,’” she recalls. “That moment, they knew exactly where they were going in life.”

The three-day festival, Mackay says, is a way to make sure Chandler residents understand the science behind the community.

“Chandler is strongly and deeply rooted in technology companies,” Mackay says. “Chandler is committed to technology and innovation and that is what we want to celebrate.”

For more information about the Chandler Science Spectacular, visit chandleraz.gov/science.