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The Maple Leaf Diner offers home cooking in Church Hill

In the short time that the Maple Leaf Diner has been open it has earned a reputation for home-style food and great service.

The Maple Leaf Diner is truly a family business. Owner Tina Turner runs the diner with her son, Tyler Alley and daughter Ashley Alley. Granddaughter Eden Rose, age four, also helps out as a “waitress”.

Tina worked in fast food management for almost 20 years, and also worked in the kitchen at an assisted living facility. Tyler has worked in restaurants since he was 16, and Tina says that Ashley has “always” worked in restaurants.

The diner was opened on January 29, 2021 and there has already seen an expansion to add more dining space and a buffet. Tina says “we all wanted to open a restaurant, and we got the opportunity”.

In addition to the quality food, Tina has a great personality for dealing with the public. She says “I know everybody in Church Hill, in a small town everybody knows everybody. I’m a people person.”

There is a wide variety of food to select from. Tina says “we sell a ton of burgers.

Traditional hamburgers and cheeseburgers are popular, but the Maple Leaf Diner offers several specialty burgers. The Continental Burger, the Bacon Mac Burger, BBQ Burger, Pizza Burger, 3 Alarm Burger, and the Hangover are the specialty burgers on the menu. The burger combos come with fries and a drink, all for around $8.

Meals offered include meatloaf, chicken livers, chicken & dumplings, chicken casserole and porkchops. The meals come with three sides. The day’s specials cost $10.25.

Tina says that the diner sells a lot of soup beans. She says the beans are prepared at the diner and are “not out of a can”. They also make the cornbread in an iron skillet. Fried chicken is a popular buffet item. Tyler adds that “a lot of people like our deserts”. These include banana splits, cobblers and hot fudge cake.

All food is purchased locally and is prepared fresh. Tyler says that the burgers are hand-patted and are never frozen. They season the hamburger meat and toast the hamburger buns. A favorite side is the “real mashed potatoes”.

As for the name, Tina said she was looking at a magazine and saw a photo of a maple leaf and “just thought that would be a good name, I thought it was neat.”

The Maple Leaf Diner offers two specials every day. Tina works to keep the prices reasonable. The variety of food and the quality keep customers coming back. Tina says she likes word-of-mouth advertising…. if we provide a good experience more people will come.”

The Maple Leaf Diner has that special small-town diner feel. Photos from the past of the Church Hill area are displayed on the walls. Tina says “several people have told me that the food reminds them of the Mountaineer.”

The Maple Leaf Diner is located in the Church Hill Shopping Center at 401 Richmond Street. The business hours are 11 a.m to 7 p.m. during the week (closed on Wednesday) 8-3 on Saturday and Sunday.

The lunch buffet is available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. There is a Saturday morning breakfast bar 8-11 a.m. Their phone number is (423) 256-2264.

College bound: Mount Carmel 4th-grader gifted tuition to attend summer STEM program at UNC

Mount Carmel Elementary 4th grader Liam Light will have an opportunity this summer to feed his hunger for knowledge thanks to a gift from an area construction company that was touched by Liam’s interest in science.

Earlier this month Michael Bare, who owns BDM Construction in Kingsport presented Liam with $3,000 scholarship to attend the Envision Pathways to STEM summer camp program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

MCES teacher Kim McCann told the Review that every year schools have an opportunity to nominate students to attend Envision camps, which are held on college campuses across the country.

Envision Pathways to STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) offers immersive learning programs that enable students to explore STEM fields through hands-on experience, discover their passions, and acquire the leadership and life skills needed for academic and career success, all while having fun.

Liam was accepted into the program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and thanks to an essay he wrote for his application, received a scholarship to help cover the cost.

Even with the scholarship Liam’s parents Kenny and Lauren Light weren’t going to be able to afford the tuition.

The Lights didn’t want Liam to miss out on this opportunity so Kenny started a GoFundMe page to try to raise the money.

On the GoFundMe page Liam wrote, “Hi, my name is Liam Light. I am nine years old and I attend Mount Carmel Elementary School. I’m trying to raise enough money to be able to go to the Envision STEM program. I was able to get a grant for $250 to go towards the $2,774 amount. I will be able to learn all sorts of things, such as criminal investigation, also robotic technology. Please if you are able to donate and help me reach this goal and fulfill a dream of mine. Thank you.”

That page caught the attention, and touched the heart of Hawkins County Commissioner Hannah Winegar.

Winegar works as an accountant for various businesses including BDM Construction in Kingsport.

Michael Bare, owner of BDM Construction, said Liam’s GoFundMe page came to his attention thanks to Winegar.

On Friday Bare and his production manager Jared Malone met the Light family and Winegar at Mount Carmel Elementary to present Liam with a check for $3,000 to cover the cost of his Envision experience.

“I’m passionate about the construction industry, and any time we can support someone like Liam we want to take the opportunity to do it,” Bare told the Review Friday. “We’ve been blessed as a company, and right now in the construction industry we need people. We need young people getting involved in programs like STEM, getting that interest, and being supported after they get that interest. We want to support him and help him get to whatever dream he’s looking for.”

McCann said Liam is a deserving young man and she’s very happy for him to have this experience.

“It’s just a great opportunity for students to be able to get in with STEM — the science, the math, the hands on — just a lot of different things that we study that follow our standards,” McCann said. “Robotics, forensics, and lots of building and problem solving. This year Liam Light was one of the students we nominated to go, and he had a desire to go right off the bat. He followed through with the scholarship process and wrote an essay, and receive some money form the program, but it wasn’t enough to cover the cost.”

McCann added, “He loves science. He loves hands on activities. He loves reading. He loves writing. He’s going to carry that on through the summer and gain a lot of knowledge from it. More than that it’s just a great experience for them to get away from home and spend a few days away from mom and dad and meet new friends.”

In his essay Liam said that he said he really enjoys science, and “Building has been a huge part of my life”.

“I’m proud of him,” said Liam’s dad Kenny Light. “Me and his mother are tickled to death for him. He deserves it.”

Meet Monica Byington: Rogersville Local Artists Gallery Artist of the Month for May

The Local Artists Gallery is pleased to announce their artist of the month for May 2022 is Monica Byington.

Monica joined the gallery in 2015 and has progressed in oil paintings since joining the Adult Art Classes led by Christine Fore. She has now taken over teaching the Adult Art Classes since the retirement of Christine; she teaches two classes a week, one on Wednesday from 2PM to 4PM and one on Saturday from 1PM to 3PM.

Since joining The Gallery Monica has served as President, Vice-President, and is now the Scheduler and all-around Go-to person for The Gallery. Her passion for Art is evident in the devotion she has for The Gallery and all that it represents.

She now does commissioned portraits and has begun to work in water color as well. Monica has taken a first place ribbon at the first contest she entered art in at the Heritage Association held Art Show in 2017 and has won a ribbon every year since.

She has pieces on display at various venues in Morristown and has become more active in local Arts and Crafts events in the area. Monica is a long time resident of Surgoinsville and spends a lot of time at the gallery honing her skills while working behind the counter. Her art pieces are displayed in the front window of the Local Artists Gallery for the month of May.

We welcome all our friends and neighbors to visit The Local Artists Gallery at 124 E. Main St., Rogersville, Tennessee Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM. We will also be open on 27 May from 6PM to 9PM for the first Rogersville Cruise-In on the Square.

You may notice that we are in the process of reorganizing. Our building has been purchased and we have a new landlord so we are losing some of our original space. We hope that our efforts will make it easier for you, our friends and neighbors in the community, to enjoy the works of your Local Artists.

Hawkins CTE instructors, students raise the bar again with great results in 2021-22
  • Updated

In the very first column I submitted for the Business Review I spoke about what the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department does and how that is an integral part of achieving the mission of Hawkins County Schools.

Specifically, I outlined two goals we had set about a year prior and were in the process of working toward. Briefly, they are, 1) to increase the number of students who complete internships and get real-world experience in the workplace, and 2) to increase the number of nationally recognized industry credentials our students earn.

We will talk more about the first goal in a week or two, but this week, I would like to share with you how we have fared in the effort to boost the number of credentials our students earn.

Before we get into that, though, here is a brief reminder of what I am talking about when I say “nationally recognized industry credential.”

Those are certifications that are standard in their respective industry, and are valued among those employed within that industry. Here are a few examples: In our health science CTE courses several students become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).

In our architecture and engineering programs students might earn a Certified Solid Works Associate credential, which indicates a mastery of 3d computer aided drafting software.

Automotive maintenance and light repair students might earn one or more Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) credentials. There are many, many more, but that should give you a fair idea of what we are talking about.

If you follow these CTE columns you may recall reading “CTE 2021 A Year in Review” just before the New Year. In that column I outlined several accomplishments, initiatives, and new partnerships forged during 2021.

One of those accomplishments was the fact that our students earned 269 nationally recognized industry credentials in the 2020-2021 school year. I was particularly excited about that because that number actually surpassed the goal we had set by more than 100%!

With that in mind, we sharpened our pencils and revised the industry credential goal for the 2021-2022 school year. Back then we were hopeful to increase from 269 to at least 300. We all agreed that 300 would be a respectable increase, and was achievable.

As I sat down to compile a report for the TN Department of Education this morning (5/25) I knew we had met that new goal and likely surpassed it once more. Again, though, I was surprised and excited when I saw the final tally for 2021-2022.

As a matter of fact, I checked the spreadsheet a couple of times to ensure there were not duplicate entries. I found that several students’ names were indeed listed more than once, but that is because some students earned two, three, or even four credentials! So the numbers were accurate — this school year, Hawkins County students earned 398 industry credentials! That’s an increase of about 48% over last year’s number!

I was almost rendered speechless… almost! All joking aside, I am very excited about this, and I am proud of our students and their instructors for such an accomplishment. I wanted to call this out in this week’s CTE column and brag on those who made that possible.

First and foremost I have to brag on the CTE instructors at Cherokee, Clinch, and Volunteer. I’ve said many times in these columns, and at Board of Education meetings, that our CTE staff is phenomenal. That is an understatement, but only because I am not sure how else to articulate just how dedicated these instructors are, and how fortunate the students of Hawkins County Schools are to learn from these professionals.

Our instructors work daily to prepare their students to earn these credentials — clearly they are good at what they do. I am proud to work alongside this staff, and excited to be a part of the amazing work they do each day!

I also want to brag on our students too, after all, they are the ones who earned these credentials. This year we had students from nearly every program of study we offer in CTE who earned credentials.

The credentials they earned will show their future employer they have mastered industry specific skills, that they are competent in the use of specific tools or software, or they have demonstrated a thorough understanding of workplace safety. I am proud of all of these young men and women, as I know their respective instructors are too!

While this is very exciting, and we are all very proud of the efforts, one thing that is even more exciting to me is knowing that this effort is not finished. Our instructors and students have raised the bar to be sure, but I know the CTE staff and I know they will set their sights even higher for next year.