In This Issue​​


Rating Improvement Could Save on Insurance Costs

Rural West Tennessee "Mini-Smithsonian" Greatly Exceeds First-Year Expectations

Best Practices for Restoring Phone and Network Connectivity


 

Winter Holiday Trivia  Did You Know?

Click here to learn more.

 

Message from the President 
 
Dawn.jpg
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the staff at Public Entity Partners wishes you the very best. As we are in the season of good tidings, it seems appropriate for us to recognize two additional PE Partner members that have been the subject of glowing news coverage.
 
The city of Kingsport has received an even more improved fire rating from the Insurance Services Office. Congratulations to the Kingsport Fire Department! On the other side of the state, Union City has garnered national attention for serving as home to Discovery Park of America. This museum, which is occasionally called the “mini-Smithsonian,” exceeded its first year attendance goal by 120,000 visitors.
 
As we wrap up this calendar year, Public Entity Partners wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season and the very best for 2015.
 
Warmest Regards,

Dawn R. Crawford, President



Rating Improvement Could Save on Insurance Costs 
November 5th, 2014 9:20 pm by Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT — Kingsport's fire rating just went from a 3 to a 2. But that's good, and it could result in some businesses and residents seeing savings on their insurance costs.

The Kingsport Fire Department announced this week Kingsport's fire rating from the Insurance Services Office has gone from a 3/9 to a 2/9 — marking it as the only city in Northeast Tennessee with such a rating for fire protection.

ISO is a leading source of property/casualty insurance risk data. Class 1 is the highest level of fire protection a local government can provide, with 10 indicating little or no fire protection at all. ISO ratings are based on a community's fire-suppression systems, communications, fire halls, equipment and water supply.

In a press release from the city, the Class 2 designation will be in effect until the next ISO review in five years and applies only to directly served residents inside the corporate boundaries of the city.

According to the KFD, there are 30,145 fire departments in the United States and 725 in Tennessee. Only 750 departments nationwide are rated as Class 2.

"The investments made by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen over the last several years have gone a long way to help improve our ISO rating from a 3 to a 2," Fire Chief Craig Dye said on Tuesday. "The new rating shows that having a highly trained and well-equipped fire department as well as sound infrastructure pays off for our residents in terms of greater safety and by saving our citizens and businesses money."

City Manager Jeff Fleming said the new ISO rating was an effort that went beyond frontline fire department personnel, as the entire system is reviewed, including Central Dispatch, GIS (Geographic Information Services), the water department, as well as all those within the fire department who provide training, instruction and community inspections.

"I have spoken repeatedly about the tremendous depth of talent we now have on board in city government," Fleming said. "This is just one example how this high talent level will continue to provide payback for the citizens of our city in the years ahead."

While 99 percent of Kingsport is rated at Class 2, the remainder is rated at 2Y, a designation denoting a property that is more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant or more than five miles from a fire station.

Other cities in Tennessee that have earned a Class 2 designation include Chattanooga, Franklin, Murfreesboro and Memphis. Johnson City and Bristol currently have a Class 3 designation.

It is difficult to quantify the annual insurance savings for business and residences; each insurer uses different methodologies and criteria. Still, Fleming said each citizen should speak with their insurer to determine if they are being charged based on the new ISO classification.

"This is a big win for our community, and certainly we encourage our business owners and homeowners to look into the potential insurance savings from this new rating classification," Fleming said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Tennessee's mini-Smithsonian Associated Press | Sunday, November 9, 2014 12:01 am
UNION CITY, Tenn. - When Discovery Park of America opened on a cornfield in rural Tennessee, its founders expected the museum described as a "mini-Smithsonian" to draw about 150,000 visitors in its first year.
They exceeded that goal by 120,000, with a total of 270,000 people visiting since the museum opened Nov. 1, 2013.
School groups and repeat visitors attracted by fun, educational exhibits have led attendance figures to blow past expectations for this one-of-a-kind museum located in Union City, Tennessee, a town of 11,000 located a few hours' drive from Memphis, Nashville and St. Louis. Discovery Park CEO Jim Rippy said attendance could hit 300,000 by the end of this calendar year.
Union City resident Robert Kirkland, who built a fortune with a chain of home decor stores and smart investments, has given $85 million from his foundation to build and expand the museum, Rippy said.
But when the museum opened, nobody could predict whether visitors would be willing to drive a couple of hours to the small-town museum, and if Union City had enough hotels and restaurants to accommodate them.
So far, museum employees, city officials, townspeople and tourists are thrilled with the museum's popularity.
"We're out here in rural America, and I think the exhibits are such quality and the word spreads," Rippy said. "They don't expect something like this to be out in the country. They expect something like this to be in Atlanta, Chicago, New York."
With its bright-white exterior and curved facades, Discovery Park sits near Interstate 55, U.S. Highway 51 and the Interstate 69 corridor. It has exhibits about natural and regional history, dinosaurs, Native Americans, energy, transportation, science, the military and space flight.
An earthquake simulator causes the floor to tremble, a 120-foot (36-meter) glass observation tower offers stunning views, and a 50-foot (15-meter) metal replica of the human body includes a 32-foot (10-meter) slide. The 50-acre (20-hectare) complex also boasts an old train depot, a century-old church, a rotating grist mill, antique tractors, log cabins and flower gardens, giving a glimpse of what life was once like in rural America.
A children's section includes the "Crawlers Cove" for infants and the "Fantasy Forest" for toddlers. Adults enjoy the "libation station," where they can socialize on weekends, while outdoor concerts also keep the older crowd coming. Santa Claus is expected to make an appearance during Christmas-time.
"You can't do it all in a day. That's impossible," said Rippy, who adds that 17,000 memberships have been sold to repeat visitors.
Susan Searcy, a guidance counselor at Union City Elementary, has visited several times with groups of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students. She also goes regularly with her husband and three children.
"The kids that I take, I see no dampening of their enthusiasm, even if it has been open for a year," Searcy said. "Discovery Park is not a flash in the pan. It's going to be here for a long time."
The next challenge is to maintain the momentum the museum created in its first year. After focusing advertising on the Nashville region in its first year, the museum's marketing staff will target tourists from Memphis in its second year, Rippy says.
New exhibits are on the way, including a mock-up of the moon that will make it appear as if the heavenly body has landed on Earth.
There's also a Titanic exhibit coming next year, said Rippy, a lifelong friend of Kirkland who had been retired for all of one day when his old bud asked him to help get the museum off the ground.
"We're not a Disney World. We're an educational thing that has caught on," said Rippy.
Officials say the museum is helping Union City recover from the loss of a Goodyear tire plant that closed in July 2011, taking 1,800 jobs with it.
Union City Mayor Terry Hailey says monthly sales tax revenues have increased 5 to 6 percent from last year. Work also is being done to attract more hotels and restaurants to make Discovery Park a viable tourist venue in the long term.
Rippy, the museum CEO, says Kirkland took a risk with his investment, but it's paid off so far.
"His idea was that people in rural America, where we live, can't all go to Nashville or Chicago or Atlanta, so let's bring stuff to them," Rippy said. "They can see stuff they never, ever would see."

 

Best Practices for Restoring Phone and Network Connectivity
by Agility Recovery Solutions

Disasters happen every day, both natural and man-made. An interruption to your organization’s communications can come from many different directions, such as a construction crew digging up your fiber lines, a computer virus compromising your network, PBX equipment failure, or high winds bringing down your phone connectivity.


Even short-term interruptions can have a severe impact on productivity and your customers’ perception of your reliability. As members of Agility you’ve already taken great strides in reducing your risk, and we’ve provided additional suggestions below of six simple steps to further protect your business:


Know Your Providers:
Save the contact information for your Phone Company and ISP (internet service provider) in the Vendor Contacts section of your myAgility account and call your providers to understand their procedures for redirecting traffic during an outage. Specifically, ask your phone company if you can pre-specify phone numbers to have them redirect inbound calls to your backup phone system with Agility. This will allow a seamless transition for callers without needing to have them call a different number than they’re used to.
 
Map Inbound Call Flows:
Consider how your call flow will change in a recovery based on which critical people will be operating in the recovery space. For call centers or other complex call flows, reach out to Agility (877.364.9393) to discuss whether pre-engineering your recovery call flow will save valuable time during a recovery.
 
Plan Access to Your Data:
Cloud backup and other off-site data solutions are an important component for your disaster recovery strategy, but they only work if your employees can access the data during a recovery. Whether your strategy has employees working from home, from an Agility mobile office, or another site, talk with your IT team and Agility about how you’ll accomplish secure access to your offsite networks and data.
 
Communicate Internally:
Document all employees’ home and cell phone numbers in the Employee Contacts section of your myAgility account. Train your employees regularly to remind them of how you will communicate in a disaster using phone calls, the Alert Notification System in myAgility, and/or any other communication tools.
 
Practice Before an Event:
Your business recovery relies on inbound/outbound telephony, secure network connectivity, and reliable communication with your employees and vendors, and the best way to assure success it to exercise and practice each component. You can start by testing internally every 3 to 6 months to validate employee contact information, and consider more intensive test exercises to include failover of phones and network connections so you know your plan will work when you need it.
 
Document Your Plan:
Ask your Network/IT team to provide clear documentation of recovery procedures in the event of a phone and/or network outage. These plans should include phone and network diagrams, as well as step-by-step instructions for failing over to your backup connections. Attach these plans as Custom Addendums in the myPlan tab of myAgility.

If you have any additional questions about preparedness, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Continuity Planning team at MemberServices@agilityrecovery.com or 877-364-9393. We’re here to help.


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Winter Holiday Trivia — Did You Know?
 

Movies released during the holidays typically rake in big dough. The biggest one to date? Sherlock Holmes, which grossed approximately $24.6 million on Christmas Day 2009 and set an all-time single-day record for Dec. 25. Avatar ranks first in New Year's Day sales, having made nearly $25.3 million on Jan. 1, 2010. Also ranking high on the charts for both days is Meet the Fockers (2004), which grossed $19.5 million on Christmas and $18.3 million on New Year's Day.