Sunday, July 29, 2007

CLAY HILL: Riverview's First Unofficial Playground




We're introducing a series of stories on Clay Hill. We all remember Clay Hill, the area directly behind the homes on Dunbar Street in Riverview.
To our industrial neighbor General Shale next door, Clay Hill was a dumpsite for all of the chemicals used in their brick-making process; also, where they took old, worn-out equipment to rust away. Of course, it was private property, "no trespassing".. off-limits to anybody except General Shale people.
But to dozens, perhaps hundreds of Riverview-South Central-Douglass boys and girls, Clay Hill was an unofficial community playground. The small steel and metal swings in the projects and behind the Douglass School easily became dull and boring after a while.

And then there was Clay Hill.

There were three ways to go up Clay Hill. Behind the Ruffin's on the lower end of Dunbar Street (that path had two levels going up), between Papa Sneed's house and Mr. Dobbins' house in the middle of Dunbar (probably the most popular entrance), and behind Jason Taylor's house on the upper end of Dunbar, where you beared around to the left and picked up the road the Brickyard built to haul spent chemicals and equipment into their dumpsite.

Once you arrived on Clay Hill, it was like stepping into a different world.

Through the dozens of paths that went either over or around the many solid rock hills and mounds and through the valleys, Clay Hill was a treasure trove of new activity, adventure around the crest of every rocky hill, excitement along every pathway, and uncertainty lurking underneath every underbrush. If you were lucky enough to lay claim to one of the old pieces of discarded machinery that the Brickyard abandoned on "The Hill," it was your job and the job of your friends to protect it from the bigger kids that also made Clay Hill their playground. Many was the day, one of those old abandoned machines was a spaceship, taking you to faraway lands. It might also be a fortress from which you threw rocks at the bigger kid intruders. (FROM CALVIN: I personally remember a rock fight me and my friends had with an older bunch of boys back in the mid 60's, over this big red and yellow piece of equipment that had weeds growing out of it. I got hit in the head with a rock about the size of a grapefruit. It put a gash behind my left ear that I wear to this day. My mother told me not to lay on that side of my head that brain might leak out. Then she told me to never go up on Clay Hill again. Of course, I was back the next day, reclaiming "our" property LOL).

On some trips to the hill, you might even stumble across a makeshift doghouse somebody built, for the stray their parents said they couldn't keep---it always had shelter on Clay Hill, where food was brought to it every day.

Did we actually EAT the brown clay on Clay Hill? Some of us did. For some reason, it tasted good, or at least DIFFERENT than anything we'd ever tasted.

Animals, oh boy.. the animals. Not just dogs.. raccoons, possums, squirrels, foxes, rats, mice, birds, hawks, ducks, wild turkeys, even deer that would somehow wander across the shallow parts of the Holston River, all called Clay Hill home.. and of course, SNAKES. The Black Racer was a common site, slithering into the underbrush, just as afraid of us, as we were of it. Often you'd find your favorite spot newly inhabited by a family of something.. moms quick to defend whatever little ones they'd just birthed on YOUR spot.

"DON'T YOU GO UP ON CLAY HILL," our parents told us all the time.. "BOY, YOU AIN'T GOT NO BIZNESS UP THERE." Did we obey?.. Of course not.. Clay Hill held too much adventure. There wasn't a time any of us went up there, that we didn't run into some other boy or girl, walking the paths, just like they owned the place. Many was the night that some of us camped out overnight on Clay Hill.. close to home, but just far enough away they couldn't hear us if we screamed at the noise in the darkness.

Today, most of Clay Hill is much different than we remember. Check the pictures in the PHOTO GALLERY. Once you get over the hill that looks down on the Dunbar Street backyards, it levels off into a huge field, big enough to play football on, with the stands. Gone are the small peaks we shared with sunning snakes.. gone are the mud pits you watched tadpoles dancing around in.. gone are the abandoned pieces of equipment, fortresses of our bygone youth. Very few animals inhabit what's left of "The Hill," having been chased away by earth-movers.

To the casual eye, these days, Clay Hill resembles a reclamation project that rivals any coal-mining ridge in Southwest Virginia. Only two areas remain of our glory days: a still-wild area no bigger than a basketball court directly between the Ruffin and Goodson's Houses, and a small area directly behind the Rutledge and Taylor Houses. You'll still find some well-worn paths, overrun by weeds and brush, with no direction, and devoid of today's human footprint.

Oh what fun we had on Clay Hill!

In many ways, the neighborhood kids nowadays didn't have it THAT good. They'll not know the friendships and adventurous spirits that traversed "The Hill." Even though our parents tried to keep us from going up there, THEY had the same memories of Clay Hill we did. For, the paths we traveled, were already well-worn by mama and daddy years ago.. through Riverview's FIRST Unofficial Playground.

What do YOU remember about Clay Hill, Riverview's First Unofficial Playground? Send it to us at and please write it out, so we can all take a walk down Clay Hills's Memory Paths with you. If you're lucky enough to have pictures, please share your experiences, so those memories will never leave us! Louetta Hall's entry below introduces "The Clay Hill Chronicles."

The Clay Hill Chronicles #1: Louetta Hall


Growing up in Kingsport and living in the Riverview Community, there were a lot of children in the neighborhood. It was a safe time for kids. We had a playground right in the middle of the projects, and we utilized it quite often. Our parents could come to the door and see where we were.

Would we slip off sometimes? Of course, we would. We would soon get bored with the swings, seesaw, sliding board, hopscotch and jack rocks.

As sure as my name is Louetta, someone in the bunch would say "let's go to Clay Hill." We always went up in the weeds behind the part of Dunbar that's next to the brickyard, so nobody would see us. Then we'd go on Clay Hill behind Jason Taylor's house, but you could get there quicker between Mr. Dobbins and Mr. Sneed's houses. I'm sure we must have looked a little like "The Little Rascals," because the group would range differently in age. Sometimes, it would be as many as ten of us.

Clay Hill was a fun place. It was like a miniature mountain located between Industry Drive and Dunbar Street in the residential area known as Riverview. Clay Hill was a stretch of hilly land that flattened out on the top.

I don't know who named it, when it was given the name "Clay Hill, or how long it was called that before I started going. My uncle Bravell and my Uncle Levenus always talked about going to Clay Hill. The name was fitting because that was what it consisted of, slate and red clay. You could dig big chunks of clay out of the ground. We often used the clay at school to do crafts, we carved it into different objects. I remember my other uncle Edward McClintock who could do almost anything, sculptured my grandmother Evelyn McClintock a beautiful elephant out of the clay from Clay Hill. He baked it in the oven, then painted it gray. I was fascinated. Over time, it got knocked off the coffee table and its trunk got broken off.

Clay Hill was also a forbidden place. Our parents would say "don't go on Clay Hill." Well, that was like saying "sick-em" to a pit bull. Because of the trees, it was a cool place for us to escape the summer heat when school was out. There were all kinds of trees.. wild apple, paw-paws, persimmon, hickory and walnuts. There were wild grapes and different kind of berries. I loved the smell of the woods and honeysuckle when it was blooming. You could see rabbit, squirrel, weasel, snakes, frogs, and butterflies of all kinds. It was Nature at its best.

I remember a deep open pit with water in it, and we would swing across it on some old vines entangled in the overhanging trees, but draped over the pond. I'm sure snakes were in that pit, but we kids never thought of any danger. We worried more about being caught up there.

Clay Hill was a source of a lot of things. People would go to Clay Hill at Christmas time and select a Christmas tree. I can remember one Christmas our Douglass Third Grade Christmas Tree came from Clay Hill, and we made our own decorations to hang on it.

On the days we would slip off to Clay Hill, we would romp, jump and holler so that our echo would come back to us. After a while, we would head home.

Did we get into trouble? You bet we did. How did our parents know we had been to Clay Hill? Our clothes would have cockberries and stick-tights all over them, not to mention the red clay on our shoes. If we went after a rain and slid down the hill to come home, the back of our pants and shorts would be red and light brown with muddy clay. That clay would stick to your shoes like glue. It was best to let it dry and then beat it off. If the dogs went with us, they came back covered with ticks.

Oh, we loved Clay Hill! It was not enough to play on it, we also ate it. To me, it had a good taste. We had a saying.. we said to each other, "you gotta eat a little Clay Hill dirt before you die!" To me, it tasted like the way it smells after a rain on a hot summer day. Talk about being close to Nature! It wasn't because we were hungry..our parents fed us well. Sometimes we would sneak potatoes and onions out of the house and cook on Clay Hill. Once, our Douglass School Fifth and Sixth Grade teachers took both classes to Clay Hill for a picnic. I packed my own lunch; I remember it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich wrapped up in wax paper. The zip-lock bag wasn't even thought of back then. I also had a Pepsi in a glass bottle, we used to put peanuts in the Pepsi. I packed it in a brown paper bag (OOPS..I'm telling my age). Anyway, we stayed a long. It felt good to be on Clay Hill.

One Christmas, most of the boys in the neighborhood got Red Rider BB guns. My brother Johnny Stewart got one. He and some of his friends got caught shooting birds off the power line, which, of course was a no-no, so off they went to Clay Hill to shoot whatever.

Clay Hill was a good source for digging earth worms to fish with. I hated when the boys came back with the worms, because the girls didn't like worms and the boys knew it. If they thought you were afraid, they would chase you with them.
It was also a good source for root tea, like sassafras, it was plentiful them.

Why am I writing about Clay Hill? It is part of my childhood which I enjoyed. Did you go to Clay Hill? I would love to hear about your adventures. I hear it no longer looks the same because industry has quarryed it out. I might visit it before long, just to see what's left of it.
Yes.. those were the Good Ole Days!


Splash Pad Mural Is Finished!

When you get a chance, check out the mural newly painted on the Riverview Splash Pad building.. Click on the pictures for a closer view. This one is on the "Wet" side.

This one is on the "Dry" side.

Back-To-School Celebration in Riverview


Remember the days when back-to-school for us Douglass students meant nothing more than going back into the classrooms to meet our new teachers for the next year?
Remember how the classrooms smelled..they SMELLED like classrooms. Walking back into the Douglass School building, always brought back memories of desks that were marked up, posters on the bulletin boards and new books on the shelves (actually, they were USED books, but they were new to us). The elementary teachers told us what we'd be studying all year, and what would be expected of us. Upper classmen who came in to register, always considered it a chore, but knew it would put them one step closer to graduation. There might be light refreshments in the cafeteria. It was a scary time because, even though we knew all of our classmates, everybody was apprehensive about hitting the books again.
These days, back to school after a summer break at the Splash Pad or riding the streets of Riverview and South Central Kingsport, is considerably different for kids, in fact, they've got it better than we did. This year, as in the past eight years, kids in the neighborhood were eased back into the reality of school books and studying, by attending the Back To School Celebration, held at the V. O. Dobbins Community Center this past Saturday, July 28, 2007.
Many local agencies set up booths to answer questions from the parents, and had little gifts and toys for the kids. Each parent registered their child for the upcoming year, and once the business end of registration was taken care of, it was funtime for the kids.
Sponsored by the Weed and Seed Program, South Central Kingsport Development, Incorporated, and the Kingsport Community Development Corporation, the Back To School Celebration featured a demonstration by the Kingsport Police Department's K-9 Unit. "Zach" is one of two German Shepherds that local police use to sniff out narcotics and other abused drugs, and Zach is also trained to detect explosives. As seen in the pictures in the PHOTO GALLERY, "Zach" considers ripping at and pulling on a sleeve as a play activity. When pointed and released on a suspect, that suspect's arm sleeve or pants leg is thought of to be part of the same play activity, and it usually results in surrender and takedown of that particular suspect. The kids were glued to the demonstration, and as exhibited by their questions afterward, the kids got a object lesson to never find themselves on the BUSINESS end of a police dog.
After visiting the booths inside the Douglass Gym, the kids and their parents feasted on pizza, Big Orange Kool-aid, and cookies and left with a real good feeling about the upcoming year.
Our Douglass teachers would be proud of the turnout!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Davis Announces Weed and Seed Grant



• KINGSPORT — U.S. Rep. David Davis on Friday announced a $200,000 Department of Justice grant to the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corp. for the implementation of the Weed and Seed Program. “The Weed and Seed Program aims to prevent, control and reduce violent crime, drug abuse and gang activity,” Davis said. “This funding will continue to assist in keeping the streets of Kingsport safe.” Weed and Seed, a community-based strategy sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, is a comprehensive multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention and community revitalization. The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” violent criminals and drug abusers, and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to “seed” much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment and neighborhood restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements.

Starting Job With Jaguars Makes This Pivotal Year For Sensabaugh




KINGSPORT — Gerald Sensabaugh enjoyed a standout career at East Tennessee State and North Carolina. But when “Monday Night Football” comes calling, Sensabaugh gives a different answer when asked to name his school.
“My rookie year when I had to tell the school I went to, I said Dobyns-Bennett,” said Sensabaugh, a defensive back with the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I had fun at both those schools, but I can honestly say that Dobyns-Bennett is where I felt that I was treated the best.”
Sensabaugh has a place in Jacksonville, but he still calls Kingsport home. Sensabaugh recently built a new house in town, his 1-year-old son Jaren lives here and he frequently returns to his alma mater. On Tuesday, Sensabaugh attended a seven-on-seven scrimmage at D-B, during which he gave this interview.
“When I have my bye week I usually stop by — especially if they have a home game,” Sensabaugh said. “I just like the tradition here.”
Sensabaugh’s exploits at the highest level of football are adding to that tradition. He heads into Jaguars’ training camp, which began Friday, as the projected starter at strong safety.
The Jaguars have their first practice today.
“It’s a dream come true for him to be going into camp as the starting safety for an NFL team,” said Brian Barrett, Sensabaugh’s position coach at D-B. “I’m elated. It makes me feel like I’m on cloud nine.”
Sensabaugh has started a handful of games in his first two seasons, but only in spot duty to replace an already established starter. That opportunity emerged when the Jaguars cut veteran Donovan Darius.
“He actually made an announcement in the locker room before he went out to one of our OTA (organized team activity) practices that he was being released,” Sensabaugh said. “He showed me a lot of the ropes coming into the league and we’re going to miss him dearly.”
Sensabaugh also will be a restricted free agent at the close of the 2007 NFL campaign — which means a breakout season could lead to big bucks in the offseason.
“I’m just ready to go out there, play, show the world what I can do,” Sensabaugh said. “Jacksonville’s given me a chance to start and I’m going to have to run with the opportunity.”
Sensabaugh says he’s enthusiastic about the Jaguars’ chances to contend this season.
“We’re going out there to win the Super Bowl,” he said. “We had three losses late last season that kind of kicked us out of the playoffs, but this season we’re going into this year with a fresh start. And we’re going to show the world that we are champions.”
After stumbling late last season, the Jaguars are eager to return to the playoffs, where they played at New England in the 2005-06 season.
“The playoff environment’s totally different from the regular-season environment,” Sensabaugh noted. “The fans are louder, it’s more intense, it’s nationally televised. We lost that game but it was an experience.”
Several in Sensabaugh’s family have had experience in big-time college football. Two of Sensabaugh’s cousins played at Division I schoolsl — Boo Sensabaugh at West Virginia and Teddy Gaines at Tennessee. Another, Coty Sensabaugh, is headed to Clemson where he will be a true freshman this fall.
“He’s enrolled in summer school so he’s getting a jump start on his education,” Gerald Sensabaugh said. “I wish Coty the best of luck. He knows he can always come talk to me about anything.”
Gaines is on the D-B football coaching staff this season, and teaches at John Sevier Middle School.
When Sensabaugh’s days in the NFL are over, he said he might end up on the Tribe sideline himself — noting he told Indians coach Graham Clark “a long time ago I would like to.”
Leaving the game before sustaining permanent injury also is a factor.
“I’d like to get out before I’m too banged up,” Sensabaugh said. “I still want to be able to spend time with my son.
“There’s a lot of guys who can barely walk and they need walking assistance. I don’t want to end up like that. My body will let me know when I need to slow down, but I’m nowhere near that point right now. I’m still young in the sport — only 24 years old.”
And poised for a potential breakout year in the NFL.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

In The Paper


Ariana Wolfe, Granna's little princess, loves playing dress-up and tee ball. She has no qualms about combining the two. Picture taken and submitted by Virginia Hankins.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Douglass Shelters Help You "Weather The Storm"



Planning for the future. And you've got to start somewhere.
That seems to be the theme for the two new picnic open-air shelters you've seen in the Douglass Ball Field.
Located between the Riverview Splash Pad and the V.O. Dobbins Community Center, the new shelters offer protection from the elements, while patrons can enjoy picnics, reunions, meetings, and get-togethers.
The shelters are a gift from the Kingsport Rotary Club and Eastman Chemical.. the organization and the business split the $35,000 cost of building the two structures in the Douglass Ball Field. They're made of aluminum roofs, resting on steel posts, on two separate concrete pads. The Rotary Club provided the labor to build them free of charge, and Rotarians are also purchasing grills, picnic tables and benches for both shelters to be installed soon. Trees and some landscaping are also planned for both.
The new open-air shelters are free to use for various activities, but to make sure there's one available for your use, Kingsport Parks and Recreation recommends that you call the department and make a reservation a few days in advance, just to be on the safe side. Call Parks and Rec to reserve a shelter at 423-229-9457.
With the Riverview Apartments Redevelopment project about to begin, plus the beautiful renovations planned for our historic Douglass School building, Riverview and South Central Kingsport will soon become a model for other neighborhoods in the city to rejuvenate their OWN areas, but also the envy of other cities in Upper East Tennessee looking to revitalize THEIR particular areas.

New Riverview Mural Is A Children's Delight


The new mural at the Douglass Splash Pad is painting the town "blue and gold" with the colors of Douglass High School.
With the Douglass Tiger already the centerpiece for the splash pad, the mural that's almost complete, will continue the "safari" theme.
Artist Kathy Blair did a color rendering of the murals to be painted on all four sides of the Splash Pad bathhouse, that used to admit many of us into the old Riverview Swimming Pool. The cost of the mural is about $6,000, and is being paid for by donations, along with city funds. Workers from Murals and More of Kingsport are finishing up the outside painting, and will soon start on the inside of the bathhouse.
Kingsport Parks and Recreation Manager Kitty Frazier says, Riverview neighborhood children will help paint the inside of the bathhouse, continuing the "safari" theme.
"Since the safari idea originally came from the kids, we felt that it was important to let them participate in the painting project," she says, "because that gives them a sense of empowerment in the process."
The Riverview Splashpad Mural is the first project of the Kingsport Public Arts Committee, which was established by the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen last year, to promote and raise awareness of how the beauty of art affects our lives every day. Ms. Frazier says the Riverview Mural is the first of several projects considered "Art In Public Places," that provides greater access to Kingsport citizens to artwork and sculptures. In the future, at least 10 different sculptures will be placed in the downtown Kingsport area, along with an "Art and Sculpture Walk."
When you get a chance, please check out the Riverview Splashpad Mural. It's a work of art that Riverview and South Central Kingsport residents can be proud of, considering it's the first artwork of its kind in the city.
And it's right in our neighborhood!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Shiloh Baptist Church Wins First Place!




When your message is about spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ, the folks at Shiloh Baptist Church have got a great way to spread the Word.
Shiloh Baptist Church of Kingsport won the first place award in the Church Float competition during Kingsport's Annual Fourth of July Parade for 2007.
About 7,000 people saw Shiloh's float and the equally beautiful floats from at least five other churches in the area. Joe Fuller of Nickelsville, Virginia.. Kenny Fannon of Duffield, Virginia, and Martha Walker of Kingsport were the judges, who also judged floats under the three categories, business, civic and church.
Shiloh was Number One in the Church category. The Fire Escape Youth Group of Kingsport won the second place award, and in third place was the Oak Grove Baptist Church of Church Hill.
"Everybody did a great job on their entries," says Fuller.
Reading the article about the parade float winners in the Kingsport Times-News was the way folks at Shiloh found out about their winning entry. The Shiloh float took two days to build, and working on it were Shiloh Pastor Kenneth Calvert, Mr. and Mrs. William McClintock, Mr. and Mrs. David Black, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Pierce, Barbara Bristol, Louetta Hall and Sandy Wilmer. The theme of the float was "Jesus and the Children," which included Pastor Calvert as the Christ, ministering to local church children.
I'm told, there will be another float from Shiloh in the Fourth of July Parade next, and it will be even better next year!
Congratulations to our Brothers And Sisters In Christ at Shiloh for a job well done, All In The Name of the Lord!

Douglass Headstart Kids Get A Helicopter Visit



Several students in one Headstart class in the Douglass School building got a special treat on Monday, July 16th. An OH-58 D Army helicopter flew in for a visit!
The OH-58 D is a special Army attack scout helicopter, based out of the McGhee-Tyson Air Force Base in Alcoa, Tennessee, that occasionally makes visits to kids for educational purposes, and on various missions for the state of Tennessee.
Pilot and Chief Warrant Officer Scott Mason of Piney Flats, Tennessee says, the helicopter, which has flown missions in Kosovo in 2004, is a seven-million dollar, state-of-the-art helicopter, with its own digital video system, and a high-speed internet connection that bypasses the use of a radio if the crew needs to contact our forces during combat.
The sound of the approaching helicopter from the northwest of Bays Mountain immediately got the attention of the kids. After a couple of circular passes over the Douglass Ball Field to get the right wind angle to drop down, the chopper landed in the wide area between the baseball field and Lincoln Street, right in front of the Riverview Apartments. The kids could hardly contain their excitement, but had to wait for clearance to get close, and once they could approach the big chopper, the questions and comments flowed like just-made strawberry Kool-Aid on a hot day.
"Actually, they ask very good questions," Officer Mason says. "But the first question they want to know is, is that piece of metal that sticks out of the front, a gun?"
Actually, that little pipe that sticks out, right in front of the chopper itself just below the windshield, is an air flow indicator to help the motor regulate the air that helps control the chopper motor (there's a picture of it in the Douglass Head Start Helicopter Visit album in the PHOTO GALLERY).
Kathy Sensabaugh, the Headstart teacher, says the event was a sort of field trip for the kids, ages four and five. She says, they also get to go to the Knoxville Zoo, the aquarium in Gatlinburg, and the Hands-On Museum occasionally. The helicopter visit was part of their Nature Trip, and eleven kids got to see the chopper and crew.
"They keep us busy," she says, "and now, they'll have the helicopter visit to talk about tomorrow."
But Officer Mason says, for him and fellow crewman Sergeant Doug Edmisten of Knoxville, showing the helicopter to the kids, is more fun for the CREW than it is for the kids.

Douglass Alumnus Passing

— Mary Tansy Lyons, 74, Kingsport, Tenn. quietly passed away on Saturday, (July 14, 2007) in the Wexford House Nursing Home, Kingsport, after a lengthy illness.
She was the wife of the late Fred Lyons, Jr. (no children) and she was the only daughter of the late Mrs. Bessie L. Kincaid and Mr. John Wesley Gilliam.
She attended Douglass High School of Kingsport and for many years lived and worked in Aurora, Ill. Upon retiring she returned to Kingsport where she lived until her passing. She received the Lord at an early age and was faithful Church member until her health failed. Mrs. Lyons had a beautiful singing voice and was a friend to all.
She leaves to mourn her passing; an aunt, Margaret Johnson, Knoxville, Tenn.; a devoted, faithful friend, Archie Lee, Kingsport; many cousins and relatives.
The family will receive friends Thursday from 11 a.m. until 12 noon at the Shiloh Baptist Church, 712 East Sevier St., Kingsport, Tenn. prior to the services.
Services will be held at 12 noon, Thursday at the church.
Burial will follow at the V.A. National Cemetery, Mountain Home.
Professional services provided by Birchette Mortuary, Inc. Johnson City, Tenn.

Kingsport Auto Burglaries

Used to be in Riverview and South Central Kingport, we didn't have to lock our doors in the daytime or bolt the windows at night. Our kids were safe and under our watchful eyes, and our property was secure, just by our being close by.
Not any more.
For some reason, Kingsport is having an abnormally high amount of auto break-in's and car burglaries.. between Friday (July 13th) and Monday (july 16th), 23 auto burglaries were reported to the Kingsport Police Department, most of them centered in the Fairacres neigbhorhood and along Garden Drive and Watauga Street.
The thieves are targeting unlocked car doors, either on the street or in the driveway, with items in plain view on the seats or floorboards.
Just when we're thinking we're run most of the drug dealers out of our area, police say most of the thieves are looking for something they can pawn off, to get drug money (just as predicted, when you run them out of ONE area, they quickly move to another), BUT WE DON'T WANT THEM BACK IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!
Folks, please be diligent.. keep your car doors locked (even if you're in the house), your valuable items in the house (or in the car trunk), and if you see a suspicious person, do not hesitate to call 911.
Right now, Riverview and South Central Kingsport is experiencing a Renaissance of unheard-of porportions, and we want that rebirth to continue. Don't let us slip back to the days of bullets, drug dealers on the corners, and drug users-prostitutes in parked cars on the streets.
Just a thought!

The Tams Wow 'Em In Riverview!




The original Tams took a Fun Fest crowd down Memory Lane at the Douglass High School Ball Field on Monday, July 16th.
The group, featuring Robert Lee Smith and the original Tams, Little Red Cottle, Joe Jones, Robert Arnold, Reginald Preston, and founder Charles Pope, took to the stage and totally impressed the crowd by doing several favorites by other artists.. then, they launched into their hits that made the group memorable.
"What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)" brought the crowd to its feet. First recorded in 1963 (where were YOU in '63?), the song quickly rose to the Number One spot on the Billboard charts. A later hit, "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" from 1968 prompted many in the crowd to jump onto the Douglass Ball Field to dance and "strut their stuff," with older couples who grew up with the music, mixing in with their younger counterparts. Another crowd-pleaser, "Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me," became a Number One hit in Great Britain, but kept the crowd in a dancing mode.
The crowd, estimated to be over 500 people, was lulled into the mood before the Tams took the stage, by the Tams Band, with Doug on guitar, Keith on bass, Greg on drums, and Louis on the electric piano (he's also the Tams' musical director). By the time the Tams were ready to take the stage, the crowd was fired up and rarin' to go.
Food vendors were set up along the fence row beside the tennis court, and the local National Guard post brought its "Climbing Wall" to tempt the more adventurous kids, while their parents were enjoying the concert. Little kids were treated earlier to a mechanical train that moved around the Ball Field, picking up and dropping passengers as it went along.
The concert and the events surrounding it was a fantastic way to get the community out, and was reminiscent of many of the programs our parents and neighbors used to hold, that gets everybody into the great community spirit we all remember.
The "Rhythm In Riverview" event was free, and sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company, the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Nathan Vaughn-State Farm Insurance, South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc. and Radio Station WKOS-FM.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Eddie George Goes To Extremes at the Douglass Ball Field

Former NFL running back working with Kingsport youth toward specific goal — ‘to make healthy lifestyles cool’ at the Douglass Ball Field



KINGSPORT — Eddie George is a fit guy. Playing 10 years in the National Football League is enough justification for most.
And now that his NFL career is over, the former Tennessee Titans running back is using his fame, and knowledge, to spread health and fitness awareness throughout the state of Tennessee.
George, a spokesperson for Gov. Phil Bredesen’s GetFitTN program, landed in the Model City on Tuesday to lead local youth in the inaugural Extreme Challenge, a three-day wellness/fitness camp hosted by the Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) and Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority at V.O. Dobbins Community Center.
“I’m here to promote a healthy lifestyle, it’s as simple as that,” said George, who captured the 1995 Heisman Trophy as a senior at Ohio State U n i v e r s i t y.
“I just want to help these kids be active and have fun at the same time.”
Appointed as spokesman for GetFitTN in October 2006, George has since been traveling the state educating children about Type 2 diabetes — the main objective of the initiative — while promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Though the Extreme Challenge, part of the city’s Hope VI project, is not directly related to GetFitTN, George did, in fact, have a connection — one of the principal partners in his landscape architecture firm, The Edge Group, also serves as chief designer for Hope VI.
“He liked the concept and was willing to donate some of his time to kick off this first annual event,” said Maria Catron, who serves as Hope VI program coord i n a t o r.
“We all have the same agenda, to promote healthy lifestyles.”
This week’s event jump-starts a five-year plan, as part of Hope VI and sponsored by MSHA.
“We decided to get involved because it was the right thing to do,” said Vivian Crymble, community and government relations director for MSHA.
“This is a very natural thing for us, to be a part of, and give back, to our community.”
George has been giving back to the community through various outlets for years. So when the opportunity to be aligned with Gov. Breseden’s program was presented, it only made sense to jump right in.
“I was initially creating my own brand with EGX Lifestyle, a company devoted to promoting healthy living,” said George, who was recently joined by University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer on TeamTN, Breseden’s group of official GetFitTN spokespersons.
“So when I was asked by the governor to join his initiative, it was a natural fit. It gives me a bigger platform to speak and to inspire from.”
The former Titan, who finished his football career with the Dallas Cowboys, has inspired plenty of people — both young and old — during his time in Kingsport, according to Catron.
“It really has been a great thing for this first year,” Catron said of having George in attendance.
“I think the greatest thing, though, is that each of these kids has got some one-on-one time with him,” she added. “He motivates them, cheers them on; he’s been fantastic.”
George will return to V.O. Dobbins today (Wednesday) to present awards, but then it’s back to laying the groundwork for GetFitTN — a program less than a year old.
“We’re really just starting,” George said. “We’re still putting the pieces together. We’re just out here being soldiers and trying to make some things happen.
“And we can make things happen by coming to communities like Kingsport, and not just by being out there and promoting, but by making others think about why it’s important to be healthy.
“We want to make healthy lifestyles cool.”

Monday, July 9, 2007

Good News About Kingsport!


Greetings! Many of you have been receiving "good news" emails about the greater Kingsport community since 2001. I find it hard to believe that I've been doing it this long. When I embarked upon this grand experiment, my goal was to find one nice thing to say about our community each day. I've reduced it from 7 days a week to more like 4 or 5 (just to keep from wearing everyone out). That's not to say there aren't enough good things to report, but we all need a little break from time to time. There are more than 2,100 people that have subscribed to receive this email and an untold number of forwards to family members, friends, and business contacts who receive forwards or referrals. I am now embarking on a new chapter by using MailMonster, a local permission-marketing e-mail service based right here in Kingsport. Bowen Scott, my high school classmate, is the owner and he has graciously offered to help me take my little email service to the next level. (He could help you, too!

Jeff Fleming

Got This From Charles Greene-Thanks for the Web Page

Hello My Brother TIGER , I'm Charles Greene ,My brothers are Larry and Jerry.. In case you don't remember me, I was 1 of the 3 the motorcycle riders in the neighborhood.

But any way I'd like to take this time to thank you for the
marvelous job you did preparing the web site. The reunion section was Fantastic, i'm so sorry I couldn't make it this year, But through your work, I truly enjoy what I saw and would like for you to know that Home and Douglass is always in my heart.

Charles W. Greene

A Gospel Extravaganza Coming To Kingsport!

The Williams Brothers will be in concert at MeadowView on Saturday, July 28th.

Originally known as "The Little Williams Brothers" when they were organized by Leon "Pop" Williams in 1960, the group recorded its first album in 1973. Since then, they've recorded 18 Top-10 albums, out of which came three Number One songs and three Grammy nominations.

Their hits include "Coolin' Water," "Jesus Will Fix It," "At The Cross I'm Just A Nobody," and "Sweep Around Your Own Front Door." Their song "This Is Your Night" reached Number 4 on Billboard's Gospel Chart. Their recording of "In This Place" reached Number One on the Billboard charts, which was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Soul Gospel Album (Traditional) category.

In April, 1991, the group formed its own record label, Blackberry Records, which is the first black-owned and operated record label in Mississippi that has major distribution.

The concert will be on Saturday, July 28th at the MeadowView Conference and Convention Center in Kingsport. Doors open at 6 PM and the show begins at 7 PM. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Sponsors are the Bristol Motor Speedway, Wellmont Health Systems, Eastman Chemical, Exide Technologies, Charter Communications, Grand Home Furnishings, Marriott Hotel and Resorts, Diamond Exchange, AFG Kingsport Plant, Toyota of Kingsport, Citizens Bank, the Pepsi Bottling Group, General Shale Brick, Christ Fellowship Church, and First Tennessee Bank. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Girl's Inc.

Upcoming Concert in Riverview

The Original Tams are coming to Riverview!

As part of Funfest 2007, The Tams of Atlanta, Georgia will be performing at the Douglass Ball Field on Monday, July 16th. Their hits include "What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am)," "Untie Me," and "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy." The Tams have recorded 13 albums and have been performing for over 37 years, with one Platium and two Gold records.

With their inaction with the audience, the Tams' upcoming performance promises to be a fantastic interactive concert.

THIS IS A FREE CONCERT, so come on out to the Douglass Ball Field on Monday, July 16th from 3 PM to 9 PM. The music starts at 6 PM. Music, fun and food will get Fun Fest participants dancing to the rhythm. This free event, which is part of Fun Fest 2007, is sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company, the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Nathan Vaughn-State Farm Insurance, South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc., and WKOS-FM Radio. For more information, contact Jeannie Hodge at 423-245-2573,

Sunday, July 8, 2007

New Vision Youth seek donations for trip

• The New Vision Youth Joyous of Joy Praise Angels dance group is planning to perform on the Carnival cruise ship Celebration Aug. 2- 6.

In order to finalize financial arrangements for the trip, the
group needs $1,390 and is seeking donations that will allow the New Vision youth this cultural enrichment opportunity.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to New Vision Youth at SunTrust Bank, Allandale Branch, or to New Vision Youth, P.O. Box 3063, Kingsport, Tenn. 37664. Individuals wishing to donate may also contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty, New Vision Youth director, at (423) 246-6623.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Message From "Mookie" Eldridge: Our Douglass Scholarship Recipients

ABOVE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Terrance Maxwell, Patrick Leeper, and Courtney Wolfe

Got this note from "Mookie" Eldridge about our 2007 Douglass Scholarship Winners pictured above:

"These are three awesome kids, and so very deserving of the wonderful scholarships that Douglass Alumni have awarded them. I'm so proud of all of them!! Thank you, Douglass, for investing in their futures. I sincerely hope they will carry on your legacy, and one day perhaps they will be awarding scholarships to the next generation. It is so important that this chain never be broken."

We're also happy to report from 2007 Douglass Alumni Association Treasurer/Bookkeeper Virginia Hankins, that the scholarship fund already has a 595 dollar balance in it from your generous donations. Other monies for the scholarships come from the golf tournament at Cattails at Meadowview every reunion.
As "Mookie" says, we are investing in our young people's futures.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Wallace Bly Passing

Dr. Wallace Bly (07-02-2007)
Funeral services for Dr. Wallace Bly, age 78, of Grambling, will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2007 at Lewis Temple C.M.E. Church in Grambling.

Interment will follow in Grambling Memorial Gardens under the direction of King's Funeral Home in Ruston.

Dr. Bly was born March 3, 1929 and passed away June 27, 2007.
He was a member of Lewis Temple C.M.E. Church where he was an usher and steward.

Retired from Grambling State University after 24 years of employment as Associate Professor and Tennis Coach, he was a former Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in Physical Education at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas (2006).
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Lucille Hunt Bly; children, Eska Roderick Bly of Grambling and Denise M. Bly-Lawrence of Marrero; granchildren, Kegan Waltrel Bly, Olivia Katherine Lawrence and Lucas Hunter Lawrence.

Pallbearers will be Grambling State University Tennis Team Members, 1976-1984.

Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Lamore J. Carter, Mr. Mack McLauren, Coach Robert Poe and Mr. Roy Gibson.

Monday, July 2, 2007

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION: Registration, Meet & Greet


Y'all get ready! Roberta's checking in!



Welcome to the 2007 Douglass-Kingsport High School Reunion in Kingsport, Tennessee!
It's the reunion of the largest Black High School in the Upper East Tennessee region and it's always a cultural event in the Kingsport area, when Douglass Alumni come home and reconnect with their friends and loved ones.
The bi-annual get-together is more like a family reunion because we were all brought up like family, with Douglass-Kingsport as the binding tie that continues to hold us together. The Reunion, held at Meadowview, the Douglass Ball Field, the Riverview Neighborhood and the Memorial Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church this year, is one of Riverview and South Central Kingsport's premiere events, bringing alumni and their descendants back home to reunite with friends and loved ones.
The event started with registration at the Meadowview Convention Center, where folks who registered, picked up their gift bags and the arm bands that would admit them into the Meet and Greet Session and the Banquet.
From registration, it was on to the Hospitality Suite for music and karaoke, and Brothers and Sisters, it was a rousing time there! Our folks know how to throw a party, and the jammin' went on until the wee hours of the morning. By checking the photos in the Photo Gallery, you can see it was a rather small suite, but the smallness made the event more intimate and personal. Light refreshments quickly turned into meals, and the great time and the good music and fellowship was a great way to renew friendships and reunite classmates. It was a wonderful prelude to the Douglass Alumni events to come!

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION: Scholarship Golf Tournament



The Douglass Scholarship Golf Tournament got off to a rousing start Saturday morning at 8:30. The event was held at Cattails at Meadowview, in front of the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport.
23 golfers took part in this Reunion's event, and Golf Tournament Director and Douglass Alumnus George Smith says all the golfers had a good time, the weather being absolutely perfect for golfing. As always, the event brought out the competitive spirit that marks all Douglass athletes (too bad we didn't have a golf team back in the day), but it was all in good fun for a good cause, and a good time was had by all.
There were three divisions in the Golf Tournament (A, B, and C), and the winners were:

A Division - Muhammad Ali, 1st Place.. Phil Rogers, 2nd Place.. and Harvey Wilmer, 3rd Place.

B Division - Jim Hickman, 1st Place.. Don Hickman, 2nd Place.. and Pastor Ken Calvert, 3rd Place.

C Division - Frank Horton, 1st Place.. Ikea Smith, 2nd Place, and Thomas Bond, Junior, 3rd Place.

The Douglass Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament is held to fund the scholarships the Alumni Association presents every two years to deserving high school graduates who are descendants of Douglass Alumni. The scholarships are also made available to those Douglass Alumni descendants who are enrolled at colleges and universities at the present time.

The three winners of this year's scholarships are Terrance Maxwell, Patrick Leeper and Courtney Wolfe, and you'll find more information on them in the Reunion article titled "Memorial Service."

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION: Alumni Parade




We love a parade!
And when the parade is about Douglass High School, and the participants all have the Douglass Tiger Spirit, we are loud, noisy, boistrous.. and proud of it!
That was the atmosphere surrounding the 2007 Douglass High School-Kingsport Parade on Saturday, June 30th, that wound its way along the streets of South Central Kingsport and the Riverview Neighborhood, where crowds lined the streets to cheer the parade along.
Parade Coordinator Organizer and Douglass Alumni Ozine Bly and Jack Pierce organized the parade, which included 20 vehicles, 25 to 30 parade participants, with between 50 to 75 folks marching.
With sirens blaring, the Kingsport Police Department opened the parade with an escort, followed by the Kingsport Fire Department's Ladder One Fire truck based out of Station One on Island Street. It was driven by our own Lennie Springer, who holds the distinguished position of Fire Truck Engineer.. Lennie delighted the crowds with the familiar fire truck soundings as the truck passed by.
Also in the 2007 parade were Joyce Goodson Dungey, Miss Douglass 1953, representing all of our beautiful past Miss Douglass's.. our precious New Vision Youth, headed by Johnnie Mae Swagerty, and a wonderful dance by Mary Kathy Pride. Those special events were crowd pleasers. Also getting rousing cheers when it passed by was the Douglass Tiger, perched on the vehicle hood of our 2007 Douglass Alumni President Louetta Hall.
To give all residents of Riverview and South Central a chance to experience and renew their connection to the Douglass School Spirit, the parade began on Dale Street at the Center Street intersection, continued through Dale Street (which was the first neighborhood established for African-Americans in Kingsport prior to Riverview), then it turned right onto Wilcox Boulevard, under the railroad bridge, and then right onto Lincoln Street into Riverview.
From there, the parade went down and took a left onto Dunbar Street, and around to Louis Street and concluded at the Douglass Ball Field. D-J Richard Ford, who also took part in the Parade, was ready to provide the music for the next Reunion event, the Douglass Field Day right there at the Ball Field.

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION: Alumni Field Day




The Douglass Alumni Field Day is a joyous event that brings all of the alumni together on the old ball field, where we used to gather and watch our Douglass Tiger Football Team practice during the 50's and 60's. It's necessary that the Alumni reconnect there, because the historic ground we reunite on, is the same ground traversed by our foremothers and forefathers during the days when Douglass School was a rallying point in the community (pretty soon, it will once again, become that important pillar in the history of our community).
Field Day is an excitingly close and intimate gatherings, and there were plenty of vendors selling their wares. The smiling faces with fish plates from A & V Fish and Mrs. Ethel Ruth Russell's Food Tent let everybody know that they'd better head on over and get their's before it all got gone! Also, there was a jewelry shop, Candles By Gail (Evans), and Bingo, hosted by 2007 Alumni President Louetta Hall. Music of the 50's and 60's was provided by D.J. Richard Ford.
A special highlight was the exhibit of our beloved and memorable Douglass High School Athletic Trophies, not seen altogether in the past 40 years. Even the ones that were damaged during storage at Dobyns-Bennett were repaired and polished up just in time for the Reunion, including the 1946 State High School Basketball trophy won by our Douglass Tigers. Only three of the original basketball players, Bobby Joe Johnson, Vernell Allen and Wynn Brown are still with us, with Vernell Allen making All-State that year. Unfortunately, we lost another distinguished player from this team, Wallace Bly on Thursday, June 28th, on the eve of our Reunion.
Hopefully, visitors got to see the trophies because if they did, they got an extra added historical treat. The display cabinets provided by Van Dobbins, Junior were originally owned by Reverend C. E. Edge, and were some of the actual display cases that Reverend Edge had in his store on Lincoln Street.. that's right. The same cases that we pressed up against generations ago to pick out candy, potato chips and other treats from our beloved Rev. and Mrs. Edge in their store, were, years later, still carrying the torch for our historic trophies.
WJHL-TV, Channel 11 also attended our Field Day to do a story. Channel 11 Reporter Amber Miller and Photojournalist Shawn Miller did a story that highlighted the Field Day get-together with 2007 Alumni Association President Louetta Hall, the Douglass High Athletics Trophy display, Bobby Joe Johnson and the 1946 State Basketball Tournament trophy he helped earn for Douglass High School, and the 1964 Girls State Basketball Trophy, with three of the players on that team, Jenny Hankins, Roberta Webb and Andra Watterson. The Channel 11 story on the Reunion and Field Day aired Saturday night on the 6 PM and 11 PM newscasts.
We were lucky this Reunion because the much needed rain the area needed, held off just long enough for our Field Day to be held (probably good, too because the bug level was very low). Then it was on to another important event later that evening, the Douglass Alumni Association Banquet.

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION: Alumni Banquet and Dance





It's our time to "dress to the nine's," "strut our stuff" and "wine and dine" at one of the Douglass Alumni Association's highlight events, the Douglass Alumni Association Banquet and Dance. Held at the Meadowview Convention Center, this formal event allowed the Alumni to feast on a delicious meal, listen to business matters of the Association, and listen to a dymanic speaker. Our Douglass Athletic trophies were also on display at the banquet.
Mistress of Ceremonies Sandra Wilmer welcomed the group to the banquet and dance, and also presided over the drawing for door prizes.
Speaker Ed Horton had the group "oh'ing and ah-ing" as he took them on a walk down Memory Lane, invoking the memory of his grandmother, our beloved Hattie Ray Horton. Although he grew up in Riverview and attended Douglass High, Ed's career had taken him all around the country living in different cities and cultures. Once he'd seen the lights of other worlds, Ed decided it was a good time to come home (coincidentally, the motto of this year's Reunion), and he spoke of the differences between big-city life and small-town culture.
His speech often set the audience to poking each other and giggling, as they apparently identified with many of the neighborhood situations he was talking about. If you didn't know any better "as the world turns," you'd think "all my children" only had that "one life to live," growing up "young and restless" with plenty of "passions" always looking for that ever elusive "guiding light," but quietly bound for the "general hospital" to get that personality makeover to grow up as one of the "bold and the beautiful," but not telling anybody about THAT.
Plaques were also presented to Van Dobbins Junior for his wonderful humanitarian efforts in the community.. Virginia Hankins for her tireless and heroic efforts within the Douglass Alumni Association.. and your website manager Calvin, for doing what comes natural.. keeping Douglass Alumni and the Riverview-South Central Kingsport area informed and fired up about that wonderful Douglass School Spirit.
WCYB-TV, Channel 5, Bristol also attended the banquet to do a news story. Reporter Nick got information from Alumni President Louetta Hall, and yours truly spoke of the discipline that was dealt out to schoolchildren by Douglass teachers, who were concerned that we LEARN from discipline, and not be INTIMIDATED by it. The Channel 5 story aired later that night, during the 11 PM newscast.
At times, our dance and banquet festivities competed soundwise with a traditional wedding next door and an African wedding across the hall (in fact, when some of OUR folks came back into our ballroom looking disheveled, hair all out of place, dress straps all off center, and them trying to readjust their dresses and shoes, we found out they'd snuck out and went next door to dance with the revelers at the African wedding--folks, those wedding participants had been there all day, and at 12 MIDNIGHT, them people were still going strong).
After feasting on chicken marsala, roast beef, southern green beans, red-skinned potatoes and wild rice, OUR banqueteers danced those calories away to classic numbers by our own Scat Cat Band, and lead singer Kenneth Springs (still rocking and rolling after all these years). The Scat Cats were good.. so good in fact, that some of the AFRICAN revelers came over to hear them later in the evening.. so did other Meadowview visitors who'd remembered the original Scat Cats from years ago. The dance lines at the Banquet were just great, and one of the highlights of the evening was St. Mark's Reverend Doug Tweed dancing with Mrs. Pinkie Horton and Mrs. Ethel Ruth Russell.. just a beautiful memory to cherish.
The banquet and dance was a fitting ending to a most wonderful day of celebrating our Douglass High School heritage, and it leads up to the most solomn of occasions.. the Douglass High School Alumni Association Memorial Service on Sunday.

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION: Alumni Memorial Service




After attending the churches of our choice on Sunday, July 1st, it was time to gather for the most solemn of commemorations.. the 2007 Douglass Alumni Association Memorial Service.
The event was held at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, with the dignity and respect the largest former African-American High School in Upper East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Southeast Kentucky deserves.. that is our Douglass High School, Kingsport, Tennessee.
In the spirit of tradition African gatherings, Gilbert Pride brought the proceedings to order with the sounding of the Shofar. The shofar is an instrument made from the horn of a ram or other kosher animal. It was used in ancient Israel to announce the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) and to call people together. It was also blown on Rosh Hashanah, signifying both the need to wake up to the call to repentance, and the Binding of Isaac (Genesis, chapter 22) in which Abraham sacrifices a ram in place of his son, Isaac.
Today, it is considered a commandment to hear the shofar blown, which Mr. Pride did with great dignity and honor.
Mistress of Ceremonies Linda Bly introduced the Memorial Service proceedings, that begun with a song from our Douglass Alumni chorus, and a soul-stirring prayer by Vicki Wood Smith. Ed Horton read from the Holy Scriptures, and Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips spoke to the congregation about the wonderful community service done by our Alumni Association. Mary Kathy Pride performed an emotional spiritual dance that moved some of the congregation to tears.
Virginia Hankins introduced our guest speaker, Mary Lee Bond Irvin, whose timeless memories of Douglass teachers and studies both humored and inspired the congregation. Mrs. Irvin encouraged the group to remember the life lessons taught by our Douglass teachers, inspiring us to continue being true "Sons And Daughters Of Douglass" by passing on what we have learned to the younger generations.
Our Douglass High School Alumni Scholarships were awarded to Terrance Maxwell, who plans to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.. Patrick Leeper, enrolling at East Tennessee State University this fall.. and Courtney Wolfe, who will attend the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga this fall. Each wrote an essay to qualify for the academic scholarship, which pays 500 dollars to each student for their financial obligations. We are so very proud of our students furthering their education.
Alumni Association Vice President Andra Watterson lit the single candle in one special moment, that honors the memory of our fellow Alumni who have passed since our last Reunion. The single candle pay homage to the fire of their spirit that will never go out.
And of course, the highlight that brought the congregation to its feet and the Memorial Service to a close, was the singing of our Douglass High School Song, written in 1931 by Douglass Teacher Bessie French. The rousing cheer afterward could be heard blocks away, and brought the 2007 Reunion to its all-too-quick conclusion.

2007 DOUGLASS REUNION:Goodbye 'Til We Meet Again!



Sometimes when good friends get together, time goes by so quickly because you're having so much fun, you just don't want the socializing to end.
In what's become its own event itself after the Douglass High School Reunion, alumni friends and loved ones gather for one last toast.. one last "high five".. one more chance to reminesce about those magical times that formed a neighborhood, an alliance, a true human bond.
The official "goodbye" was held at O'Charley's in Kingsport, where, if you notice the photos in the Photo Gallery, there were a lot of brother-brother, sister-sister, and brother-sister combinations, indicating the family atmosphere of all of the Douglass Reunions.
Oh, if we could just bottle up the memories of our all growing up together, with the fellowship and renewed friendships during Reunion 2007.. Our ranks are dwindling every month it seems like, and all we have left are our memories.
Please pray for each other to have continued health, and please stay in contact. Keep those communication lines open and available.
Always remember.. your Douglass Alumni Association website will be here, if it be God's Will. Watch for updates, pictures and remembrances, because I will always have them. If you have pictures of this year's Reunion you'd like to share with others (I can add any photos to the Photo Album of any particular event and I'm always looking to share others' pictures), or any information that others in the community need to know about (news stories, event information, singing concerts, benefits, obituaries, etc.), please send them to me (photo attachments in the JPEG format), and we will get that information out to everybody. I have some wonderful articles planned, and other pictures and videos that capture our Douglass-Riverview-South Central Kingsport experience.
Continue making your website a sounding board for change in our community, and an information source to let others in the community and the area know what WE are doing.
'Til we meet again!

Sisterly Love Members Honor Legends

Leigh Ann Laube —
The members of Sisterly Love, (front row, from left) Pat Winton, Chynet Hale, Mary Watterson, (back row, from left) Mashell Turner, Ramona McClintock, Joni Hughes, Carolyn Smith and Linda Wade, will honor women who have made a difference in their lives.



So impressed were the members of Sisterly Love with Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball that they’ve decided to hold a similar bash honoring women who’ve made a difference in their lives.
Though their ball, set for Sept. 15, won’t be quite the spectacle as Oprah’s ball — a three-day celebration that honored 25 African-American women in the fields of art, entertainment, and civil rights — Sisterly Love’s Legends in White ball will be just as heartfelt.
Each of Sisterly Love’s eight members have invited three women to be honored.
“I’ve known these ladies for a number of years and have seen things that have made a difference in my life,” Patricia Winton said of those she has invited.
Linda Wade’s mother-in-law and daughter-in-law will be two whom she honors, the latter for the hard work and dedication she’s shown in her quest to become a doctor.
Carolyn Smith will honor a fellow minister.
“She was with me when I gave my life to the Lord,” she said.
One woman, Kathryn “Chi Chi” White will become an “honorary honoree.” She was chosen by consensus among the members. White has served as a friend and mentor to the women of Sisterly Love for many years.
“She always jumped in and helped us when we needed her,” said Ramona “Twinkle” McClintock.
On Sept. 15, the 25 honorees will be picked up by limousine at Shiloh Baptist Church and taken to MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center for a luncheon, fashion hat show, fellowship and a time to be honored.
At 7 p.m., they will gather again at MeadowView for a non-alcoholic formal ball. Members of Sisterly Love and their legends will dress in formal white. Music will be provided by DJ Express. Sisterly Love has extended an invitation to Winfrey to attend and speak at the ball. They’ve also contacted author, motivational speaker and recording artist Juanita Bynum to be a guest speaker.
Sisterly Love is a Christian, non-profit social organization whose goal is to help and give back to the community in a loving and godly way. The group was formed by the late Karen Schofield seven years ago.
Legends in White will serve as a fund-raiser for the organization’s annual scholarship fund, awarded to local high school graduates.
This year’s scholarship winner is Samuel Mbarathi, a 2007 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School. Mdarathi will attend Tennessee Tech this fall.
Sisterly Love’s other charitable projects in the past have included supporting local battered women's shelters; donating backpacks filled with school supplies to underprivileged children at area elementary schools; providing financial assistance to fire and flooding victims; preparing Thanksgiving baskets for needy families; making financial donations toward funeral costs; and sponsoring a contest in the Little Miss Vision pageant.
The luncheon is ladies only. The evening ball is open to anyone. Tickets are $25 for each event and can be purchased from any Sisterly Love member, or by calling Chynet Hale at 378-4575, Mary Watterson at 378-5319 or Ramona McClintock at 378-5028.
Anyone interested in joining Sisterly Love, or contributing to the scholarship fund can contact any club member.