Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Salute To the Douglass High School Boys From Kingsport In Service


On this Memorial Day, 2007, we reprint this salute printed in the 1944 Douglass Annual to our heroic soldiers from Douglass High School who served our country in World War II.


Here's to the boys from Douglass High
Who serve for Uncle Sam
God, make them strong and brave and free
This war is not a sham.

You will not fail, nor be dismayed
Because you love Peace so,
Stick to your job, and wrong upbraid
And let trite trivials go.

Now, take the spirit of the school
Long may it ever last
Fight, Conquer, Defend and Rule
Our heritage from the past.

Your burden will be long and hard
That you will have to bear
But on this ground, we'll ever plod
Seeking your Victory in prayer.

Some may return to Douglass High
Some may not lucky be
But may God guide you constantly
On land and on the sea.

SPECIAL NOTE: As we reflect on the service of our African-American servicemen during the GREAT WAR, we also pay tribute to ALL of our soldiers who also served in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the First Persian Gulf War, and it is our sincere hope that EVERY soldier and service man and woman representing from Riverview and South Central Kingsport over in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, soon return safe and well to their loved ones and neighbors here at home! Please send them the link to the Douglass website, so that they may, too, keep up with events here at home. In the meantime, Dear God, please watch over them and bring them home safe and sound soon!

Teens Spark Revival of Central Baptist Church Genesis Choir

Members of Genesis Second Generation choir stand outside Central Baptist Church on Carver Street in Kingsport. After a few years of hiatus, teens in the church came to choir leader Bernard Goliday and asked him to revive the group.


Genesis members must keep up with their studies, have good attendance at practices, and make a pledge for self-betterment.


KINGSPORT — Bernard Goliday prepares to enter the sanctuary at Central Baptist Church, bragging about the involvement of the teenagers in a choir group that had been idle for a few years.
Just then, the singers gave a greeting only a conductor close to his performers could love. “Quit being late!” they exclaimed. He grins and shakes his head.
That bluntness best describes the formation of Genesis Second Generation at the Carver Street-based church.

"The ORIGINAL Genesis Choir Group started at the Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church on Maple Street, and Douglass Alumni Members Douglass Releford, Rolax Jones and Virginia Hankins, along with the members' parents, were instrumental in the group's tremendous sucess at that time. Although a few of the members of the Genesis Choir do attend Central Baptist, the group's members consist of youth from many churches all over Kingsport and the surrounding area, and they have been allowed to do their rehearsals at the Church Of The Great Commission, with the Reverend Matthew Thomas as pastor."))

Goliday says the kids felt an absence with the Genesis group participation level at its lowest in years, and they took a matter-of-fact approach to breathing new life into it.
“They remembered coming here when they were 8, 10, 11, 12 years old and seeing the original choir, and most of those students are gone now because of graduation and other things,” Goliday said.
“Bottom line, we had 35 students in the choir, and 30 of those went to college. And for a time there, we had a hard time getting the choir going again. Now we have a variety of ages, so the next generation can step up when this group leaves."
“Some had their own reasons for wanting to bring this choir back. Some were spiritual, some were wanting to be responsible or have more responsibility, but mostly, they enjoy singing and being together in church.”
Being a part of this group requires more than a good voice. Goliday has strict guidelines for Genesis members, including maintenance of their academic studies in middle or high school, good attendance for practices, and a pledge for self-betterment.
“That is part of the deal. They must promise me that they will go to college or earn a skill that they can use in life,” said Goliday.
“We practice three to four hours on Saturday, and the church and the pastor are all for what we are doing. This enriches them, keeps them involved in the church, and it has encouraged our young people beyond measure."
“Idleness can curse a young person, but if you get them involved like a project like this, it moves them to do things they never thought they could do. It builds their character and gives them confidence and hope.”
Nyashia Grady says a combination of reasons led her to Genesis, but being an example to others her age is a key reason she continues to practice and learn various songs and hymns in church.
“It’s fun to show others how Good God is and to Praise Him, and that other teenagers can Praise Him also,” Nyashia said.
Tyyonna Grady said the bar had been raised by the first group of Genesis singers, and it was now their turn to show the church family they were ready to take on the responsibility.
“I was touched by how that group sang on Sunday and at other events, and I wanted to be a part of that. It looked fun, and it was a way to witness to others. They led this church in various ways, and I wanted to do that for God,” said Tyyonna.
The group continues to work on song selection for various appearances at other churches and events throughout the summer.
Their next performance will be a fund-raiser for the Riverview Splash Pad and Jalisa Ferguson Park project. It is scheduled for June 9th at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium, beginning at 6 P-M.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mother: ‘Jalisa is always with me’

Photo by David Grace —
Patricia Ferguson — holding a family photo of Landon and Jalisa Ferguson and Patrick Beatty — poses Wednesday with Patrick Beatty, Jai-Lesa Delaney, Landon Ferguson and Gloria Miller. Jalisa Ferguson was killed June 14, 1994, just days after her 4th birthday.



KINGSPORT — A group of teenagers sang a song of praise near a park in Riverview. A mother in the crowd wiped away tears, touched by the song and looking at children born the same time her daughter Jalisa was in 1990.
“You never get over a child dying, never. But I’ve got great memories and a great niece that keep me going,” said Patricia Ferguson, sitting underneath a shade tree Wednesday while watching children play inside a park named after her daughter.
Jalisa Ferguson celebrated her 4th birthday on June 14, 1994. Eleven days later, she was gone.
A crossfire gunfight in the Riverview housing community on June 25, 1994, cut her life short as a single bullet struck her, the result of a shot fired by an alleged drug dealer.
“It was hard for me to look at little girls for a while. I was hurting so bad,” said Patricia Ferguson, dabbing her eyes but smiling when her 3-year-old great-niece Jai-Lesa came running up to her.
“She’s part of the reason I’m here. Sometimes I feel like the Lord put that little girl here for a reason. The pain is tough sometimes, but I’ll tell you, that girl looks just like her, and sometimes she talks just like her. I’m blessed to have her in my life.”
Imagine having to live through the same kind of pain twice. Patricia, unfortunately, has gone through the trauma of losing two children who were dear to her.
The second death occurred when one of her former neighbor’s children, whom Patricia baby-sat, was killed by a younger brother who had picked up a handgun that accidentally discharged.
The accident occurred in Knoxville last summer when Candaria Horton, 4, was killed.
“I just couldn’t believe it or accept it for a while. I just kept thinking why she had to die, why just like Jalisa. Nobody knows what I went through with that,” said Patricia.
As a result of Jalisa’s death, a concerted effort between community and city leaders in Kingsport to improve conditions in Riverview was launched.
“It does help and makes me feel good that my daughter is still remembered in the community, and that some change came about because of what happened. It doesn’t make it any easier, but we are learning to go on with our lives, but Jalisa is always with me,” said Patricia.

Times, They Are A-changin’ For Riverview

Photo by David Grace —
Shakonna Carpenter gets a good soaking as she tries out the newly opened Riverview Splash Pad on Wednesday next to Jalisa Ferguson Memorial Park.


‘Just like everything in life, the surroundings have to change so the next generation can have the better things.’
— Van Dobbins Jr.


KINGSPORT — A gathering was held in the Riverview community Wednesday at the Jalisa Ferguson Memorial Park and the Riverview Splash Pad as community leaders celebrated a federal project, Hope VI, that will bring a new face to the aging neighborhood.
“A lot of history is going to be gone once the buildings start disappearing, but just like everything in life, the surroundings have to change so the next generation can have the better things,” said Van Dobbins Jr., whose father V.O. Dobbins Sr. is the namesake of the community center that anchors the housing community.
The Hope VI agreement between the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will bring about $12 million worth of refurbishment to apartments and homes in the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the Kingsport Department of Parks and Recreation and the youth choir group from Central Baptist Church will continue to raise funds for future enhancements around the Riverview park named in honor of Ferguson, who had just turned 4 when she was killed in an apparent drug deal crossfire in 1994 near the housing complex.
Park executive member Mark Kilgore said recent benefit concerts by the group have raised enough funds to buy new benches for the park, while Eastman Chemical Co. has pledged funding for two picnic shelters that will be constructed by Kingsport Ruritan Club members later this s u m m e r.
“We have a lot of plans for the (property) surrounding the Splash Pad and park,” Kilgore said. “We plan to have an art mural erected and painted in late summer, and we hope to add some outdoor grills in the picnic shelters. We also want to put in some sidewalks near the Splash Pad along with some sun shades to help protect the kids.”
The department is also seeking grant funding from a number of private and public sources, including filing an application through the chain of Lowe’s Home Improvement stores that assists public projects with materials.
“Everything has been positive with the new Splash Pad and the park itself. The kids have one of the neatest places in the city to play, and it’s great that the children of Central Baptist continue to want to improve the park here,” Kilgore added.
The recreational additions, which have a price tag of more than $500,000, will be the center of the new community, which could also have a proposed higher learning center as a partner to the neighborhood’s development.
Dave Light, assistant to the Kingsport city manager, said in April that the Hope VI funding could help in leveraging federal dollars for the proposed center.
“If you don’t change, you lose, and it seems like Riverview is going to come out as a big winner with everything that is being proposed. I am sad that a part of my history might be leaving, but I am real excited about what the young folks around here have to look forward to,” said Dobbins.
Any public donations toward park improvements can be made to Central Baptist Church, 301 Carver St., Kingsport, TN 37660.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New Vision Youth Choir headed to the Bahamas




KINGSPORT — They travel to nursing homes, delivering smiles and songs. They’ve taken to the streets of their community with dustpans, trash bags and brooms to clean things up.
Now, this youth group is getting some tropial rewards for giving back to their community.
Elementary-age children in the New Vision Youth choir group are planning to board a ship in Florida and take a cruise later this summer that group adviser Johnnie Mae Swagerty says will be part vacation and part education.
“I’ve been trying to tell them that it is just not going to be a time to swim and get some sun. They will be there to learn also,” said Swagerty of the church group.
“We are going to instruct them on the various cultures that they will see in the Bahamas and how experiencing that will help them become more rounded and grow in their personal life.
“We’re even going to bring a former etiquette teacher from Dobyns-Bennett in to instruct the kids on some table manners and such. It will be a first-time thing for most of these kids.”
Before the trip, the group will launch a series of fund-raisers to help with supplemental money. That will include a benefit fish fry, lots of bake sales, and support of those willing to donate.
Swagerty says the trip is a reward of sorts. The group has an extensive schedule of singing engagements throughout the year, but that is only half of the duty of being in New Vision Youth.
“The kids make dinner for the senior citizens who live around the church, and they also make visits to area nursing homes. We get them involved with those folks to help them realize that the older ones were there before they were,” said Swagerty.
“Some of these have never been out of Kingsport before, let alone on a bus or across an ocean. I can’t wait to see them when they see that water. It’s going to be special.”
Swagerty said a fund is set up at SunTrust Bank at 4233 W. Stone Drive in the Allandale community where citizens can donate funds to help finance transportation and other costs associated with the trip. The fund is listed as “New Vision Youth Kids.”
For more information about the group and the trip contact Swagerty at 246-6623.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Our First Miss Douglass Selections

AT LEFT, Willie McClintock, 1937 Miss Douglass


In 1938, Douglass High School was in its infancy, less than 10 years old. We were proud of our women students, many whom excelled not only in the classroom and on the athletic front, but also in the community. In 1936, Miss Lillie Francis Armstrong was our very first Miss Douglass.
We honor the legacy of our beautiful Miss Douglass selections.. we shall never forget them.

Tele-Optics Tweaking Kingsport’s Wi-Fi system

SPECIAL NOTE: As we moved towards wireless internet access in Riverview and South Central Kingsport, the provider is working to increase the signal in weaker spots. Note in the article the receive rate at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center in Riverview. Click on the map at right, and note that Riverview and South Central Kingsport in the center of the picture are within two circles, meaning they are covered by TWO wireless access points, in fact.. our area is nearly covered by THREE wireless access points right now.. Meadowview is in the center of the circle at the bottom. Folks have been asking me about this service, and again, THIS IS A FREE SERVICE. If you're considering Wi-Fi, our area is more accessible than any other place in Kingsport right now!


KINGSPORT — The download rate on Kingsport’s free wireless Internet service could vary from a “very strong signal” to no signal at all, depending on where you are and the number of people competing for the bandwidth.
This according to two officials with Tele-Optics, which installed the system a few weeks ago.
Earlier this month, Eleven mesh access points have been installed in the city to provide the wireless Internet service, and four more are expected to be installed. Eastman Credit Union and the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s Greater Kingsport Alliance for Development announced the expansion of Wireless Fidelity — or Wi-Fi — in the city.
The new service allows individuals with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, PDA or cell phone to access the Internet free of charge in several areas, including downtown Kingsport, Riverview, and the Borden Mill and MeadowView areas.
ECU is footing the bill for the service, and Kingsport-based Tele-Optics is implementing the network.
The Times-News recently went to all four locations where the free service is being offered and checked the connection rate with a laptop computer, both inside and outside a vehicle. The time of day was between 9 and 10 a.m.
In the parking lot of the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center, the connection rate varied from an acceptable 48 megabytes per second (Mbps) down to a weak 5.5 Mbps.
At the V.O. Dobbins Center the rate was 54 Mbps, the Kingsport Public Library registered 24 Mbps, and at the intersection of Main and Broad the rate was 54 Mbps and the computer denoted a “very strong signal.”
In the parking lot at Borden Park, no wireless signal could be detected.
Eddie Davis, director of technical service at Tele-Optics, said 11 mesh access points have been installed in the city to provide the wireless Internet service, but none have gone up in the Borden community yet. Davis said four more access points are expected to be installed, with one going up at Holston Valley Medical Center.
“Everything is stabilized. We’re going out and mapping our coverage area, see where it overlaps and find the dead spots. We’ll feed that information back to the city and get a revised map and try to fill in those dead spots if there is a need there,” Davis said. “We have to see where our coverage is going now and then see if we have enough left to expand into Borden.”
Davis said the download rate will vary depending on various factors.
“Where the access point is located, what’s around it (buildings, trees). There are a lot of variables that can change what your download speed is,” Davis said. “You have to have good line of sight with the access points, and it doesn’t penetrate the buildings very well. It’s an outdoor system. That’s what it’s designed for.
“If you’re on the very fringe of the signal, then you’re going to get a very weak signal.”
Frank Waldo, president and CEO of Tele-Optics, said if you are within 300 feet of the access points, then the download rate should be good, and depending on the amount of traffic on the system, the range could go as far as 1,200 feet away.
Another factor could be how close you are to the building where the access point is located. Waldo said if you’re too close, you could be within the access point’s shadow and the bandwidth would be reduced.
“We try to stand the (access points) off three feet to minimize the shadow,” Waldo said. “As with any wireless network, it’s what’s between you and the (access points).”

Friday, May 18, 2007

African Ancestor's Prayer

This was an Ancestor's Prayer at Mrs. Ethel Ruth Russell's birthday party celebration. Some of you may have heard it before. It applies to each and every Douglass Alumni, and Riverview/South Central Kingsport resident:

Ancestor's Prayer

Our great African Parents who are among us, we humbly offer our thanks fo the many blessings You have given.

We extend our love to its ultimate state of being for the suffering that You have endured, so that we may not suffer so.

Mothers of our Great African Nation, Fathers of our African Selves, we invoke You to further lead and guide us to a higher understanding of our true greatness, and a more encompassing dedication of love for our African People.

Parents of all African Children, guide us toward a great unity, guide us in a stronger African System, and lead us into the zenith of respect and love for our people, through education and the "Family Communal Structure."

We swear upon the heritage and legacy that You have left us, to uphold and sustain our rightful status on this Earth, and to continue the struggle for the total mental and physical liberation of all African People.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Ethel Ruth!

The anxious group awaits the arrival of "Birthday Girl" Mrs. Ethel Ruth Russell


A well-kept secret was finally brought to completion as the family of Mrs. Ethel Ruth Russell celebrated her birthday, with a grand party at the Ramada Inn in Kingsport on May 12th.
Most of you know Mrs. Ethel Ruth is the Chaplain for the Douglass Alumni Association.
Sherry, Robin, Dinky, Teresa and Esther were wonderful in their tributes to their mom and grandmom. Scottie was not able to attend, but his spirit was back home with the loved ones. Nat Smith also read a poem from Scottie to the group.
Robin Russell told the group of family and friends how she never misses a call to her mom, not even if she's on a cruise, Teresa and Esther had wonderful tributes to the family matriarch, and of course, Dinky "partied like a rock star."
The group dined on baked chicken, green beans, baked potato, salad, and desserts, while reminiscing about the days growing up in Riverview and South Central, and a good time was had by all.

Fish Fry for the New Vision Youth

Johnnie Mae's mouth-watering fish just 'awaiting to be 'et!


The fish fry for the New Vision Youth programs was held Saturday outside the Riverview Community Building, beside the Carver Library. Johnnie Mae Swaggerty and her team assembled all the ingredients for a wonderful community get-together on a warm spring afternoon. Fish sandwichs and dinners, with hot dogs and all the trimmings were for sale, with the proceeds going the New Vision Youth Scholarship Fund, and the upcoming trip to the Bahamas. New Vision Youth is a nonprofit organization designed to educate and help youth, and also benefits many community volunteer projects.
The fish was scrupious, the hot dogs were delicious, and the lemonade/koolaid hit the spot, and if you check the pictures in the photo album, you'll see why at the NEXT fish fry, YOU need to be there! As far as out-of-towners, a visit to Riverview will be well worth the trip for that delicious fish!

Women's Fair 2007 at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center


Women came forward on Saturday, May 12th, to celebrate themselves at "Women's Fair 2007," sponsored by the Junior League of Kingsport. The old Douglass High School gymnasium was alive with activity with exhibits, health screenings and family resource help. The women of our community were also treated to free massages, manicures and skin care, with experts on hand to demonstrate the correct way to apply these techniques to have a lasting, beautiful effect. Nutritional information was also given out, so women of the community can maintain proper dietary levels as they age gracefully.
There were also exhibits on breast cancer detection (so many of our families have been touched by cancer), and lifesaving demonstrations by emergency medical technicials from the Kingsport Fire Department. Victims of domestic violence were also advised in private by the Kingsport Police Department, so that they know where to turn, in case their lives or the lives of their children demand immediate action.
Kids were treated to facing paintings and puppet shows in the Douglass Auditorium by the God's Little People Puppet Team, and door prizes were also awarded in the gym.
There will also be a FREE Men's Health Check-Up Day in Kingsport at 1041 East Sullivan Street on Monday June 11th, with a Women's Check-Up Day at the same location on Monday May 14th. Another Men's Check-Up Day event will be held Friday June 15th in Blountville at 154 Blountville Bypass, and another Women's Check-Up Day will be on Thursday, May 17th, both days at 154 Blountville Bypass. Times are from 9 AM to 3:30 PM on all four days.
If you missed the 2007 Women's Health Fair, please drop by the Men's and Women's Check-Up locations. PLEASE DO THIS FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Our Beloved Douglass High School Trophies Are Found!


"Why are the Douglass trophies still at D-B?"

That's the question Betsy "Mookie" Aldridge has, after reading the article on the Douglass Alumni website about one of Douglass' great football quarterbacks, Bobby Joe Johnson. In the article on March 19th, Mr. Johnson said he'd sure like to see the Douglass sports trophies come back to the school someday. "We didn't just win them for the school," he said, "we actually won them for the neighborhood."

Now, almost 40 years after Douglass High School closed in Kingsport, Ms. Aldridge is worried that former Douglass athletes won't ever get to reminisce and rejoice in the competitive spirit that helped hold a neighborhood together..
"It's a shame we have to go to D-B to relive the Douglass memories," she says.

When Douglass High School closed in 1966, all the school equipment (desks, chairs, books, a top-notch auditorium sound system) were all grabbed up by any white schools in Kingsport that put a claim on them. The claiming event must have resembled a feeding frenzy, because Douglass had the best and newest of
everything, being the newest school built at the time.

The coveted trophies and awards won by many Douglass High School athletes, stored in the trophy case, were all taken to Dobyns-Bennett High School, where they were mingled in with the D-B trophies won by white athletes over the years. In a sense, Douglass lost the rest of its identity at that point, as those
trophies were the last vestige of cohesiveness the school had with its black students and the community. The empty trophy case still standing at Douglass High School is barren, save for occasional displays made by the talented children of Head Start that now frequent its halls. It is a fallen soldier, a silent testimonial to a special, magical time when Douglass trophies were reverently placed on the shelves inside by teams and supporters with pride and dignity.

Only a few of the Douglass athletic trophies have been seen over the 40 years since the school closed. Most of that time, a few of them made very short visits to display tables at various Douglass Reunions, where the athletes who won them and former students could all gaze upon them in sad remembrance of a wondrous time gone by. After the reunion event, much like the Douglass students of 1966, the trophies would be taken back to their silent home at D-B, a few to be mingled in with the D-B trophies, but most to be boxed away,never again to see the light of day or a joyous remembrance of victory.

If you have ever visited the trophy case at D-B, you'll see a few of the Douglass High School trophies, standing proudly among the many D-B trophies, their plaques proclaiming the excellence of a Number One, Number Two or Number Three school competitive ranking.
Pick a trophy and stare at it.. listen closely.. you'll hear the South Central Kingsport community in the Douglass Gym basketball stands, on the football field cheering, rallying the Douglass Tigers to victory. You'll hear our beautiful Douglass cheerleaders chanting:

"When you're up, you're up,
When you're down, you're down.
But when you're up against DOUGLASS,
You're UPSIDE down!"

Alas, those days are long gone, but now, over 40 years later, most of the Douglass High trophies have been located! The D-B trophy case is not big enough to contain both Douglass and D-B trophies, so some of the D-B trophies and most of the Douglass trophies have all been stored over the years in a locked, dusty room just off the D-B Gymnasium Dome.

We recently visited that dusty room and it was a very spiritual, almost tearful experience to dig through the various boxes and find the original Douglass trophies that provided Riverview and South Central Kingsport with so much joy and accomplishment.
Among the ones found, were many basketball trophies from the Tri-State Athletic Conference that Douglass belonged to, including the 1957 Boys Basketball Championship Trophy, a second-place trophy from 1948, a second-place trophy from 1936 (both sponsored by Knoxville College), and the first and second place Girls Basketball trophies from 1959.

Probably the most sacred memorial found, is the 1946 State High School Basketball trophy that brings back a lot of memories for so many Riverview and South Central Kingsport residents. The names of the players inscribed, conjure up memories of some great athletic movements!

Unfortunately, some of the Douglass trophies as you'll see in the photos in the Photo Gallery are damaged; many of the D-B trophies as well. The huge basketball that topped the 1946 State Basketball Championship trophy is gone, only the base with the name plaque is left; the statuettes on top of some trophies are broken off; the eagles adorning other trophies are loose. This writer observed that some of the Douglass trophies can be repaired; others can be replaced with a similar item, but without expert attention, a few may be damaged beyond repair.

"It's such a shame they were not taken better care of," a disheartened Kingsport City School Board member Wally Boyd said, when told of the conditions of some of them. "Douglass has such a fine tradition of competitiveness.. surely something can be done to remedy the condition of those that are damaged."

D-B officials say, it turns out that when Dobyns-Bennett renovated its own trophy cases some years ago, D-B students were recruited to box up all the trophies and athletic awards for temporary storage, and it is believed that the student handlers did not realize the great care that needed to be taken with the items.. hence, the damage. But even as that was going on, it's thought that some of the Dobyns-Bennett trophies were actually stolen, Mr. Boyd says. "After taking inventory of the missing ones, we think we know who might have been responsible for that," he said.

"It would not be a big problem to return the Douglass trophies to the Douglass Alumni Association," Mr. Boyd said, "for the enjoyment of the athletes and supporters who earned them." "We would also like to get the damaged ones repaired, because they were, after all, left in the care of, and were the responsibility of Dobyns-Bennett," he said.

That comes as good news to Mrs. Aldridge.
"Our local children, particularly those in the South Central Kingsport area, need to be able to see the trophies in the neighborhood school where they were earned since the school building is still here," she says, "instead of the trophies being stored in a dark room somewhere."

"It's all about passing down to the next generation," she says, "the athletic accomplishments of those who came before," she says.

SPECIAL FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: For your enjoyment, some of our Douglass Trophies will be on display during the upcoming Reunion (thanks to Doug Releford for that), and in the coming days, be sure and watch the News And Current Events Section for a special series of photographs reuniting those trophies with the winning teams who brought them home to Douglass High School!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Fish Fry for the New Vision Youth on May 12th

KINGSPORT — A fish fry will be held May 12 beginning at noon at Riverview Community Building (beside the Carver Library). All proceeds will go to the New Vision Youth Scholarship Fund. New Vision Youth is a nonprofit organization designed to educate and help youth. The group also does many community volunteer projects. In addition to fish dinners there will be baked goods and hot dogs for sale. The fish dinner is $6. The group will deliver orders $15 and up. For more information call Johnnie Mae Swagerty, New Vision Youth director, at 246-6623.

Funeral Services for Mrs. Gwendolyn "Anita" Jackson

KINGSPORT — Services for Mrs. Gwendolyn “Anita” Jackson who departed this life after an extended illness Thursday morning May 3, 2007), will be conducted at 11 a.m. Monday at the Grace Temple Church, 208 Garden Drive, Johnson City, with Bishop Aaron Redd officiating. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until the hour of service on Monday at the church. Interment services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday at Oak Hill Cemetary. Mrs. Gwendolyn “Anita” Jackson and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service Inc.

Douglass Alumni Reunion Committee Meeting Of May 5th



A very lively and spirited meeting of the Douglass Reunion Committee on Saturday, May 5th. Present at the meeting were Douglass Reunion Committee President Louetta Hall, and members Ed Horton, Andra Watterson, Thelma Watterson, Ozine Bly, James Bly, Peaches Bly, Kathy Bradford, Sheila Leeper, Virginia Hankins, Vicki Smith, Sandra Wilmer, Van Dobbins, Jr., George (Ronnie Smith), and Calvin Sneed.

The Douglass, Riverview, and South Central Kingsport Community has had so many passings during the past few months and indeed, during the past two years. It was agreed that our friends, relatives and extended families will receive special acknowledgements of sympathy during their time of sorrow.

George (Ronnie) Smith presented an update on the Douglass Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament, to be played on Saturday morning, June 30th, starting at 8:30 AM sharp. Ronnie told the group he's expecting 30 to 38 alumni to take part in the tourney, with the money raised from the registrations funding our Douglass scholarships. Those scholarships are available for senior high school descendants of Douglass alumni regardless of where they or the alumni live now, that are going to college next year. Also eligible are FIRST-YEAR college students who are also descendants of Douglass Alumni. The entry fee is 15 dollars, and the greens fee is 40 dollars, payable on Saturday morning.

Ed Horton, who heads the scholarship essay applications committee, reports that the deadline for essays passed on May 1st, and so far, only one essay has been received. It was agreed that since students and parents might have a lot going on right now, with college preparations and such, that the essay deadline is now extended to JUNE 1ST. Folks, free money is just that.. FREE. This is a great opportunity to get some extra FREE money to help fund the first part of your child's education, always the hardest time. Please get them busy sending us an essay. You can download a copy of the essay scholarship application form, by clicking the application link on the home page of our website.

The menu for our Douglass Alumni Reunion BANQUET has now been set, and if your taste buds can handle it, "here it go":
ENTREES: your choice of Chicken Marsala or Roast Beef from a carving station.
STARCHES: your choice of Roasted Garlic Red-skinned potatoes or long-grained Wild Rice.
VEGETABLES: Southern Style Green Beans or Broccoli Casserole
SALAD, with your choice of raspberry vinagrette, ranch or bleu cheese dressings.
A freshly baked dinner ROLL, with butter or margarine.
A wide assortment of favorite DESSERTS.
COFFEE (regular and decaf) or ICED TEA.

The Alumni packets that you'll pick up at registration and/or at Field Day, will include at least 19 or more items and mementos of interest, including your Douglass Alumni booklet. We also decided on logo's to be put on the decanters you can buy during the reunion. This year, our booklet is dedicated to the memory of all our Douglass Teachers, and will also include our School history, colors and wonderful Tiger mascot. Our meeting of June 23rd at 1 PM will be the packing day for those packets (volunteers are welcome to help stuff those).

Linda (Peaches) Bly is our Mistress of Ceremonies for the Memorial Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday, July 1st at 3 PM. For the Candlelight Lighting ceremony, we have had so many beloved Douglass Alumni leave us since the last Reunion, and we sure don't want to leave anybody out or miss anyone. Please let us know if you have had a Douglass Alumnus pass away during the past two years so we can honor their memory in the ceremony. Our speaker for the Memorial Service is Mary Lee Bond Ervin, whom we all know is Buddy Bond's sister. She's a very good speaker and will help us honor our School's history and memory. Ed Horton, also a motivational speaker will speak at the Banquet on Saturday night.

Our next meeting will be on June 2nd at 1 PM in the Fellowship Hall at St. Mark's in Kingsport. Please join us in finalizing plans for your Douglass Alumni Reunion!

Douglass Scholarship Golf Tournament

Folks, please don't forget to sign up for the Douglass Scholarship Golf Tournament to be held during our Reunion on June 30th. The location is the Cattails At Meadowview Golf Course in South Central Kingsport, seen "to the left, to the left."

Proceeds from the fees go directly to the scholarships given by the Douglass Alumni Association. Students that are eligible for the scholarships are high school descendants of Douglass High School alumni that are graduating in 2007, and also FIRST-YEAR Douglass descendants that are already enrolled in college.

The golf tourney has an 8:30 AM shotgun start on June 30th, with trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Two trophies will also be given for having the ball closest to the pin, and also the longest drive of the day. Trophies will be presented at Field Day later that afternoon.

Entry fees are 15 dollars per golfer (return with registration), and the greens fee is 40 dollars, to be paid at the golf course.
The deadline for registration is June 25th. To register, please contact George (Ronnie) Smith at (423) 378-4964.

Rudy Hall Golf Classic

Your memory remains afresh in our minds and hearts. Having you in our lives was wonderful. You are surely missed.
Your Loving Family

Don't forget the Rudy Hall Golf Classic, coming up on May 26,2007 at the Warriors Path Golf Course in Colonial Heights. There will be FOUR man teams in three flights, with a first, second and third place in each flight.

Rudy Hall won the Tennessee Eastman Recreation Club (TERC) Golf Club Fall Tournament held at Graysburg Hills. In the 36-hole medal play tournament, Rudy had a score of 149--seven strokes ahead of the 2nd place finisher.

The tournament cost is 50 dollars per player. To register, call (423) 677-9777 or (423) 246-6809. Please honor Rudy's memory by playing in the tournament in his honor. The event is sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Day Of Prayer In Rogersville

ABOVE: The National Day Of Prayer Event in Downtown Rogersville

AT RIGHT: Rolax Jones, Douglass High School Alumnus, taking part in the Prayer Event in Rogersville


The English Family sings ‘Power in Prayer’ during the National Day of Prayer event in downtown Rogersville on Thursday. At right, Rolax Jones prays during the meeting on Main Street in Rogersville. About 50 people gathered to pray for different topics — ranging from our nation and its leaders to the media and its influence. Local pastors lead those gathered in prayer for the event, which was held on the lawn of the Rogersville Courthouse, above.

Kingsport's Free Wi-Fi Service Expands Into Riverview and South Central Kingsport

David Grace — Eastman Credit Union CEO Olan Jones speaks at Thursday’s news conference announcing the launch of an expanded Wi-Fi service in Kingsport.


Individuals with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, PDA or cell phone can access the Internet in several areas around the city including downtown Kingsport, Riverview, and the Borden Mill and Meadowview areas..


KINGSPORT — Wireless Internet service is now available across parts of Kingsport — free of charge.
Eastman Credit Union joined forces Thursday with the Kingsport Housing & Redevelopment Authority’s Greater Kingsport Alliance for Development to announce the expansion of Wireless Fidelity — or Wi-Fi — in the city.
The new service allows individuals with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, PDA or cell phone to access the Internet in several areas around the city, including downtown Kingsport, Riverview, and the Borden Mill and Meadowview areas.
In a news conference at ECU, officials involved with the project used wire cutters to sever the link between a laptop computer and its wired connection.
“A portion of Kingsport is cutting the cord,” said CeeGee McCord, deputy executive director of the KHRA. “This is extremely exciting news for Kingsport.”
She said that many large cities are implementing the technology as a way to attract businesses and travelers. In 2005, the KHRA, city of Kingsport, Kingsport Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, and the Kingsport Economic Development Board launched a pilot project to offer Wi-Fi access in downtown Kingsport.
McCord said the response to the pilot project was “overwhelmingly positive.”
“It encouraged us to explore and expand the opportunities,” McCord said.
Eastman Credit Union President and CEO Olan Jones said his organization decided to invest in the effort to help bring Internet access to individuals who may not otherwise be able to afford the service. He estimated that nearly 14,000 people will gain free Internet access as a result.
“We realize the importance of the Internet and want to offer additional areas of connectivity for our members and the citizens of Kingsport,” Jones said. “In a world that relies on the Internet for communication purposes, this service will bring a viable resource for all of those living or working in the coverage area, and ultimately make Kingsport and the Tri-Cities a more competitive location for attracting new residents and businesses.”
Jones said residents, tourists and business people in the coverage areas will be able to surf the Web, send and receive e-mail, “and conduct much of the same business they are already doing with the wired connection in their home or business.”
He said local police, fire and rescue personnel will also benefit with more effective communications and methods to monitor locations within the coverage areas.
“Recent studies, particularly in New Orleans, show a decreased criminal activity where police monitoring has been enabled through wireless service,” Jones said.
The network will also create educational opportunities and enhance current educational programs in the city, Jones said. He said students will be able to conduct research and communicate with teachers and professors through the network.
And tourism will also benefit. Jones said Kingsport hosts an average of 330 conventions and tournaments each year, and free Internet service will help the city’s effort at attracting new and repeat tourism visits.
Jones would not disclose how much ECU has invested to launch the expanded Wi-Fi service. But, he said, “we’re certainly interested in partnering with others to ultimately expand the scope of this project.”
“This new service is a win-win opportunity for everyone,” he added.
Tele-Optics Inc., a Kingsportbased telecommunications infrastructure company, was chosen to design and implement the network. Tele-Optics CEO Frank Waldo said the system is configured using numerous wireless access points which are mounted on light poles throughout the coverage area.
“Each access point transmits a 600-foot wireless signal overlapping with other access points to create a large wireless cloud or mesh area,” Waldo said.
He said the area’s topography, buildings and obstacles preventing strong signal strength, and the user’s proximity to an access point can all impact connection speeds in the network.
Waldo said the service is not meant to replace the wired connection people already have in their homes or offices.
“But it’s meant to enhance and serve as an additional method of connectivity when you’re away from your wired connection,” he said.

Riverview-South Central Kingsport Passing

KINGSPORT — Mrs. Gwendolyn Anita Jackson, 1009 Dale Street, Kingsport, departed this life early Thursday morning (May , 2007) at Wellmont Holston Valley Hospital and Medical Center. Arrangements are incomplete. Online condolences can be sent to the family at
Mrs. Jackson and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Services Inc.
(Mrs. Jackson is the sister of Mrs. Alma Bly and Mrs. Marie Kinchloe--our sincere sympathy and condolencses to the families)