Scholarship Instructions

Scholarship application instructions for the 2017 university academic year are now available on the Scholarship page of our website.  This year we are again offering two scholarships, one for Tennessee students desiring to attend a Tennessee public university and one for students from El Paso High School desiring to attend the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).  Please go to Scholarship Awards and Instructions in the toolbar and click on the appropriate set of instructions.

Vortens Toilet Tank Update

Earlier this week I was contacted by a reporter for a television station in Mobile Alabama.  This was the second time in two months that a reporter contacted me asking about Vortens tanks.  The first time, a reporter from a Houston area television station contacted me.  To those who have posted comments: please note that your comments are being read and are getting the attention of the news media.  Please keep posting your experiences if for no other reason than to let others know that they are not an isolated incident.


Whirlpool Microwave Recall

Whirlpool has announced the recall of their microwave hood combinations due to an electrical problem.  Internal arcing can cause plastic components to melt and ignite.  Ignition of flammable material can pose a fire hazard.  The units that are involved in this recall are listed as follows:

Model Numbers                                                          Serial Numbers

WMH53520CS                                               TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CW                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CB                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CE                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH53520CH                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CS                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CW                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CB                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CE                                              TR33500000 – TR34899999

WMH73521CH                                             TR33500000 – TR34899999

Consumers should immediately stop using the affected models and contact Whirlpool for a free replacement model.  For additional information, Whirlpool can be contacted by calling 1-800-990-6254 or going to and click on “Product Recall” at the bottom of the page.  Whirlpool has received five reports of incidents involving smoke and fire.  To date, Whirlpool has identified 15,200 units involved in this recall.

Deep Fryer Fires due to Lack of Maintenance

We recently investigated the cause of a deep fryer fire in a restaurant setting.  As you probably know, these appliances are everywhere, not just in commercial food establishments, but in homes as well.  They have been in use for a number of years and are tried and tested dependable pieces of equipment.  However, there is just one problem which seems to be constantly ignored by owners.  That is, a thorough cleaning!  It’s one thing to clean the surfaces that are easily reachable and say that the fryer is clean.  It’s quite another to clean the areas where grease accumulates and is ignored because these areas are hard to get into.  I’m talking about the places around the burners and controls.  I’m talking about the area where the gas line comes in and the connections are made.  Many people are afraid to get into the cabinet where the guts of the fryer (and stoves and grilles) are located.  And if you don’t know what you are doing, you’re probably better off leaving the cleaning to a professional.  That doesn’t mean that the cleaning should be put off until absolutely necessary, or as in this case, after a fire occurs.  Deep frying food causes cooking oil to splatter onto exterior surfaces.  Whether onto an exhaust hood or other appliances, the residue that accumulates becomes fuel for a potential fire.  In the recent case mentioned above, greasy residue was allowed to accumulate on the rear side of the fryer as well as the exhaust hood wall.  Greasy residue also accumulated inside the fryer’s exhaust duct enclosure and this was where the fire originated.  The fire started here because the heat from the exhaust was insulated by the greasy residue, raising the temperature of the exhaust gases to the ignition temperature of the residue.  As a reference, cooking oil ignites between 750 F and 800 F depending on the oil.  If the fire hadn’t been contained as quickly as it was, the fire would have eventually reached those grease laden areas behind the fryer and inside the control and burner area.  The fire would also have spread to the stove and grille which were also under the same exhaust hood as the fryer and in need of the same type of cleaning.  If you have to set aside a day to clean inside your cooking appliances – Do It! I promise you that the time and money you spend doing a little maintenance will be significantly less than spending days to clean up, if not rebuild, after a significant fire loss.  Just think about the lost revenue over one day as opposed to several weeks if not months.  Remember, you have control over your schedule and therefore you can plan for your downtime.  Your customers, employees and those close to you will all appreciate it.

To show you what I mean, the following photograph shows how dirty the burner and control area can get if not kept clean.


This is the back of the fryer after it was removed from its place under the exhaust hood.  The burn pattern was created by the heat produced from burning on the inside the exhaust area of the fryer. The residue on the lower back was never touched and is therefore an example of how bad the accumulation can be if not cleaned regularly.


The last photograph shows what the floor area looked like when the fryer was removed. The gas line, which is barely recognizable, was buried in the residue.


Irrigation System Failure

Attention farmers and anyone else that uses long irrigation systems for crop growth. You risk damaging your equipment if you don’t maintain it on a regular basis.  Recently, we investigated the collapse of a system due to the accumulation of mud inside the main water distribution pipe.  A portion of the system is shown in the photograph below.


Instead of causing the truss supports to fail, the system came apart at the rubber boots between sections. When one section came apart, it dragged another section down. Two pipes were found especially blocked with mud and sediment debris.  The photos below show the blockages.




If your water source is a lake, river, or well, you are best advised to use some type of water filtration if you don’t want to risk this type of damage. The owner of this system was lucky in that his insurance carrier paid for the repairs.

Vehicle Recalls by Ford, GM, and Chrysler


The Ford Motor Company has recalled 2013 -2014 F-150 pick up trucks due to a problem with the brakes.  The trucks involved in this recall were manufactured Between August 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014 and equipped with 3.5L engines.  The problem with the brakes is that the master cylinder rear cup seal can leak brake fluid from the reservoir into the brake booster.  The loss of brake fluid results in the loss of braking power to the front brakes and increases the likelihood of a crash.  The recall was expected to begin on July 11, 2016.  Owners of the recalled vehicles should take their trucks to an authorized Ford Dealership where dealers will replace the master cylinder and if necessary, the brake booster, free of charge.  For additional information, owners can contact Ford customer service by calling 1-800436-7332 and referencing recall # 16S24.


General Motors has recalled certain 2016 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles due to a problem with the memory chip located in the electronic brake control module (EBCM).  The recalled vehicles were manufactured between March 7 and March 12, 2016.  The failure of the memory chip can cause the loss of the anti lock braking system and electronic stability control.  According to GM, if the EBCM fails, the primary braking function will still operate but, the vehicle will be harder to stop increasing the risk of a crash.  GM has already begun notifying owners and replacing the EBCMs as of June 17, 2016.  For additional information, owners can contact GM by calling Chevrolet customer service at 1800-222-1020 and referencing recall # 39440.


Chrysler has recalled 2009-2016 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured between July 31, 2007 and November 12, 2016 for a problem with a defective power steering return hose.  The hose can rupture at engine start-up after being exposed to cold temperatures.  The rupture can cause a loss of power steering which can also increase the risk of a crash.  Chrysler dealers will replace the power steering return hoses, steel tubes and oil cooler free of charge.  The recall is currently in progress and owners should take their vehicles to their Chrysler dealer for the free repair.  For additional information, owners can contact Chrysler by calling 1-800-853-1403 and referencing recall # S08.


Chrysler has also recalled certain 2016 Jeep Cherokee Vehicles manufactured between September 30, 2015 and October 2, 2015.  These vehicles were manufactured with left side halfshafts that can fracture without warning.  A fractured halfshaft can disconnect from the drive axle increasing the risk of a crash.  This recall was begun on June 30th and has been assigned recall # S38.  Chrysler has also discovered that the problem extends to the right side halfshaft.  As a result, Chrysler has extended the manufacturing period of the recalled vehicles to include October 3, 2015 to March 22, 2016.  Chrysler has also assigned the recall number of S39 to address problems with the right side halfshafts.  For additional information, owners can contact Chrysler by calling 1-800-853-1403 and referencing the appropriate recall number.

Scholarship Awarded to Aaron Schneider

This year we have awarded our $500 scholarship to Mr. Aaron Schneider of Murfreesboro Tennessee. Aaron is a 2016 honors graduate of Central Magnet School.  While at Central, Aaron excelled in honors courses like Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology and Computers.  Aaron will be attending the University of Tennessee Knoxville in the fall of 2016 and major in Mechanical Engineering.  Lastly, Aaron’s interests are in the aerospace industry, specifically in jet engine design, navigational systems, and space travel.  Congratulations and best of luck at UT.


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