Gerdau brings holiday warmth and cheer to Lonsdale students

In a tradition dating back to December 2000, Gerdau helped “warm up” the holidays and the cold winter months for 401 Lonsdale Elementary School students at its 18th Annual Mitten Tree held December 4.

Through the event, Gerdau, North America’s fourth largest steel producer, provides hats, mittens, holiday treats and a visit from Santa for each child at the school. The gathering is a highlight for both Gerdau employees and Lonsdale staff and students.

“The Mitten Tree is something our students look forward to and truly appreciate,” Lonsdale Principal Wendy Hansard said. “Gerdau brings in the perfect hats and mittens, and we enjoy seeing our kids wearing them as they walk to school each day and pull them back out again to enjoy the playground.

“It’s fun to see the children’s faces light up as they talk with Santa before selecting their mittens. We appreciate the men and women at Gerdau for bringing this celebration to our school year after year.”

Gerdau enjoys celebrating with the students who live in the community near the steel recycler.

“The Mitten Tree provides a meaningful way to celebrate the holidays by supporting and spending time with the students in our own backyard,” Gerdau Vice President and General Manager Johnny Miller said. “I particularly enjoy the kids’ smiles as they tell their wishes to Santa.”

Gerdau has a robust social responsibility program that focuses on providing community support in the locations where it operates.

Pilot raises $66,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Association

Pilot raised $66,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Greater East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia through the 2017 Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign, now in its 32nd year.

Pilot representatives presented the donation to MDA on December 13 at the Pilot convenience store located at 7686 S. Northshore Drive in Rocky Hill.

“Thanks to the support and contributions of our generous guests at stores throughout East Tennessee, Pilot has raised money for muscular dystrophy research through this campaign for 32 years,”  Dan Fleming, vice president of operations for Pilot, said “The Muscular Dystrophy Association makes a tremendous impact in the lives of families affected by the disease, and we are proud to support the organization’s mission in our community.”

Pilot raised the funds by selling paper shamrocks during the annual Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign held in March.

“Each year, I’m taken aback and humbled by the generosity of Pilot guests who support this campaign and help us fund programs throughout our 39-county service area,” Teresa Underwood, executive director for the MDA of Greater East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, said. “This campaign allows us to continue summer camps, therapy and other activities that make a difference in the lives of families living with muscular dystrophy.”

Cirque du Soleil’s “CORTEO” to visit Thompson-Boling Arena

After thrilling more than 8 million people worldwide, “CORTEO” will embark on a new journey as the same enchanting production but now in arenas, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy a Cirque du Soleil show in their own town. The show will visit Knoxville for a limited run of six performances, from April 19 to 22, 2018, at the Thompson-Boling Arena.

This unique production directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca premiered in Montreal in April 2005 and has visited 64 cities in 19 countries.

“CORTEO,” which means “cortege” in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.

The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music turns lyrical and playful carrying “CORTEO” through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.

The cast includes 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from all around the world.

Tickets start at $39 and are available at

Niva Misra-Sammons, M.D., joins Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge

Dr. Niva Misra-Sammons has joined Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge as an internal medicine physician. She currently is accepting new patients.

Misra-Sammons graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and continued her education at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine where she earned her medical degree in 2013. She served her residency at UT Medical Center in Knoxville.

Misra-Sammons is a board-certified physician and a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Knoxville Academy of Medicine.

She resides in Farragut with her husband, Dr. Brandon Sammons, a physician at Summit Medical Group at Tellico Village. In her spare time, Misra-Sammons enjoys exercising at spin and barre classes and shopping.

Misra-Sammons is the daughter of Roma Misra and the late Dr. Sarada Misra. She has one sister, Dr. Eva Misra.

Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge, located at 801 Oak Ridge Turnpike, is open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For an appointment, call 865.483.3172.

Knox County Teens Win 
Writing Contest

Three Knox County teens have won a writing contest judged by best-selling young adult author Kerri Maniscalco. Kelsey Craighead, Knoxville Catholic High School junior, took first place ($100); Kathryn White, Hardin Valley Academy junior, second place ($75); and Pierce Gentry, Central High School freshman, third place ($50). Winning stories appear on

Friends of the Knox County Public Library, Knox County Public Library’s Teen Central, the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee, and Union Ave Books sponsored the contest.

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Knoxville Lifestyle!

The team at West Knoxville Lifestyle looks forward to sharing the good news of our friends and neighbors each and every month. If you have a charity event, neighborhood party or community celebration worth sharing, please send us 30-40 words about the event as well as 6-10 high-resolution photos to so we can include them in our Good Times section. There is no charge for this service and photo credits will be given to professional photos if needed.