Community Notes:

Blount County and City of Alcoa receive ETDD awards
The East Tennessee Development District (ETDD) board of directors held its Annual Awards Banquet June 15, at Rothchild Conference Center in Knoxville.

The East Tennessee Development District made the following awards which J. Allan Watson, ETDD board chairman, and Monroe County mayor, and Iliff McMahan, Jr., ETDD board vice chairman and Cocke County mayor, presented on behalf of ETDD.

These awards were made by ETDD to area communities, organizations, and individuals for outstanding contributions to regional and/or community development.

The East Tennessee Development District provides regional planning services, assisting with economic and community development, utility planning, historic preservation, and small business development. The region covers Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union Counties.

Helen Ross McNabb Center launches campaign to care for uninsured
The Helen Ross McNabb Center announces a campaign to raise funds to care for uninsured mentally ill adults in Knox and Blount counties. The LifeLine campaign, led by McNabb Foundation board member Dale Keasling and Bo Shafer, who is a former foundation board member, seeks to raise $775,000. The effort is designed to care for over 200 uninsured adults each year for three years.

"The LifeLine program is in response to an identified need in Knox and Blount counties," said Leann Human-Hillard, vice president for adults services at the McNabb Center. "LifeLine will provide outpatient mental health care for adults age 18 and over regardless of their economic circumstances. With this program, adults with mental illnesses will no longer slip through the cracks of a system that excludes them because of their inability to pay for care."

The program’s goal is to stabilize individuals in need of outpatient mental health treatment and establish an on-going medical home for future service delivery. LifeLine will provide a comprehensive assessment including psychosocial history, psychiatric evaluation and nursing assessment. It is designed as a short-term, transitional program to provide individuals with medication management and goal-oriented therapy when needed. Services will be provided through a multi-disciplinary team comprised of a psychiatrist, registered nurse and master’s level clinician.

The LifeLine program will begin accepting patients this fall.

Heritage Planetarium pays tribute to America in laser show
The Heritage Planetarium announces the release of its latest laser show. Laser Spirit is a program that salutes life and America.

"This is no ordinary production," said Thomas Webber, director of the facility. "While laser shows are stereotypically associated with rock music, this concert includes music from many genres and times and is appropriate for the entire family."

Laser Spirit utilizes a mix of pop, classic rock, oldies, adult contemporary and patriotic music and includes a tribute to 9/11 and the servicemen from all branches of the armed forces.

The production is set against a backdrop of dancing light and images all working together. "A large arsenal of the planetarium’s capabilities went into the production of this show," Webber said. "Laser shows in planetariums are often more spectacular than those offered in other venues because the facility is one large virtual reality theater."

The program premiers July 6 with shows at 6:30 and 8:00 p.m. Admission is $5 per person and parking is free.

The Heritage Planetarium re-opened in January after undergoing a major renovation, making it a state-of-the-art facility unique in the world. The work also included a custom designed laser projector.

"We now have the world’s only full-color, 360 x 180 Skylase technology system," Webber said. "You will not see anything like it anywhere else."

The facility began laser shows in 2002, and gradually improved the technology and programming until it reached its peak during the recent upgrades and renovations.

Webber said the addition of laser shows has been a big asset to the facility. "People who might not otherwise visit a planetarium come for a laser show and then return for an educational planetarium program," he said.

In addition, it provides another activity for teachers who have driven a long way to visit the facility.

Currently, the planetarium has two laser shows available. "We had to start from scratch with this new equipment. It will take years to build a library of shows again, especially with this new level of sophistication," Webber said.

Two additional laser programs are currently under production. Laser Vinyl, which surveys classic rock, and another which is a full tribute to the Beatles. Both shows are expected to be completed before 2008.

At the same time, Webber continues work on the educational planetarium shows. "I have a lot on me," he said with a laugh.
Although the laser shows have been a success at the planetarium, Webber points out that the primary goal of the facility is space and science education. He said laser shows are "just icing on the cake."

The Heritage Planetarium serves schools and the community from Blount, Knox, Anderson, Sevier, Hamilton, Roane, Union, Grangier, Jefferson, and Cumberland Counties. For more information call 865-984-8548 or visit www.heritageplanetarium.org. The Heritage Planetarium is located at 3741 East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville.

Brittany Johnson receives Ft. Craig Scholarship
Brittany Johnson, graduate of Maryville High School, was the 2007 recipient of the Ft. Craig Scholarship. She is the
daughter of Chris and Dan Johnson of Maryville. Brittany will be attending Samford University in the fall.

© 2007 blounttoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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