Press Releases

Southern Steak & Oyster to Host Meet and Greet with Navajo Code Talkers Nov. 11

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; November 8, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– A free meet and greet with the Navajo Code Talkers, one of the most storied units in United States military history will be held 2-4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 in The Southern Steak & Oyster’s private Demonbreun Room.

As one of America’s oldest living groups of WWII heroes, the Navajo Code Talkers are famous for their “secret code,” a language developed in early 1942 and the only military code never broken by an enemy. By 1945, there were more than 400 trained Navajo Code Talkers, and their unbreakable code played a vital role in saving thousands of lives.

“My father served alongside Zurl Keames, a Navajo Code Talker in Patton’s Army behind the German lines on his infamous march to Paris,” said Tom Morales, owner of The Southern Steak & Oyster. “Growing up, my father shared stories that Zurl validated during a lengthy stay in my home here in Nashville in the early ’90s. I have so much respect for these brave men; I jumped at the opportunity to host these surviving heroes.”

In addition, from Friday, Nov. 8 through Monday, Nov. 11, select restaurant managers and staff will strap on their combat boots purchased from The Boot Campaign to show appreciation for U.S. troops (

Staff and managers at The Southern will also Nov. 8 – Nov. 11 put on a pair of combat boots to support The Boot Campaign. The Boot Campaign, a grassroots initiative designed to show appreciation for U.S. troops, cultivates awareness of the challenges soldiers face upon returning from active duty. The program also raises funds to help wounded military and their families with living expenses, fund job placement programs, provide mental health support and counseling, and more.

For more information, visit

Press Releases

Ford Speedway in Lights Opens Nov. 15 in Bristol

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; November 4, 2013:

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway transforms into a four-mile winter wonderland as Ford Speedway in Lights powered by TVA kicks off its 17th season Nov. 15 and runs through Jan. 4, 2014, featuring a new Battle at Bristol Fan Zone and Light Display.

New this year, fans of the gridiron can catch a Battle at Bristol preview. It features a lighted, football-themed display set atop the Goodyear building in Turns 1 and 2 of the BMS and a small-scale replica of the field, complete with Virginia Tech and Tennessee end zones, positioned on the front stretch pit road.

Those stopping at Speedway In Lights Christmas Village have the opportunity to visit Santa Claus, ride carnival rides, toast marshmallows over a fire, and participate in the Battle at Bristol Fan Zone.

The 2013-2014 route also features returning favorites such as the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies display located under the Speedway’s front stretch grandstands and the SUBWAY® Symphony of Lights, a synchronized light exhibit covering the Darrell Waltrip grandstand and featuring more than 300,000 LED lights blinking in time with the music.

Filled with more than 200 dazzling exhibits, the largest holiday light show in the South and one of the biggest in the country has become a must-see tradition that continues to grow in popularity, setting a weekend attendance record of 20,000 visitors last year.

Guests must enter the display route at the Bristol Dragway entrance, just off Hwy. 394. Tickets for cars are $12 Sunday through Thursday, and $15 Friday and Saturday. The Johnson Controls Ice Rink and HVAC Chill Hill open Nov. 14.

Press Releases

TN Convention, Visitors Bureaus Recognized by ConventionSouth

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; Oct. 29, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – ConventionSouth, the national multimedia resource for planning events in the South, presented Tennessee convention & visitors bureaus with 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards.

The winners included Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau; Gatlinburg Convention Center; Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center; MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center, Kingsport; The Park Vista, a DoubleTree by Hilton, Gatlinburg; The Peabody Memphis; Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism; Rutherford County Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Visit Knoxville: Knoxville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This is the first time Rutherford County Convention & Visitors Bureau has received the award.

Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated sites are then compiled onto an online ballot where meeting professionals and fans are asked to vote for the best of the best.

More than 6,500 voters participated this year in the selection process, the highest vote count ever recorded.

Each bureau will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2013 Awards Issue of ConventionSouth magazine. The issue will showcase some of the most talented meeting professionals in the nation.

Celebrating over 30 years as a leading meeting planning resource, ConventionSouth magazine is based in Gulf Shores, Ala., and is distributed to more than 18,000 meeting professionals located across the country who book meetings held within the South.

For a complete list of winners, visit

Business and Economy News NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Bloated Brochure Project at Tourist Development

Bredesen appointee Susan Whitaker is in the hot seat this week, as her Department of Tourist Development comes under criticism for a PR project whose costs grew to four times the original estimate. WSMV Channel 4 dug into invoices at the department and found a bloated project to create promotional brochures.

The ad agency White Thompson, which won the state bid for the brochures, indicated it would cost about $15,000 to develop six brochures, plus about $4,000 for the logo.

But when the I-Team began inspecting the invoices, it found that just a year later, the estimate to finish the brochures had doubled.

The estimate for the brochure a year later jumped to about $40,000 to finish the same brochure.

In the end, it cost $64,000. Add on the printing, and the final total was more than $100,000 in tax dollars to put the brochure in tourist destinations across the state.

We’re guessing the scathing news report was not quite the PR the department, a player in solar farms, had in mind. The TV station found that the department had spent $15,000 on videos praising Whitaker and former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Whitaker refused to answer questions on camera and “acted as though the I-Team wasn’t there when the I-Team showed up,” the television station reports. Guess this PR fiasco is something not even good bloodlines and working for Dolly herself prepared her for.