Friday, October 30, 2009

Weed and Seed youth to tour media center

• KINGSPORT — South Central Kingsport Weed and Seed’s Project Safe Neighborhood youth will tour the Niswonger Digital Media Center on East Tennessee State University’s campus Tuesday. The group will leave from the Fresh Start Foundation, 1140 Martin L. King Drive, at 4:45 p.m. Parents are invited to join but must provide their own transportation. Project Safe Neighborhood participants’ transportation will be free.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Be A Bone Marrow Match" Hits Home in Riverview

Back in the spring, Andrew Dover started getting tired much easier.

"I'd walk up the stairs at my job at the Johnson City Specialty Hospital," he says, "and I'd be so tired at the top, I'd have to sit down. My supervisors were catching me sitting down when I was supposed to be working, and I would tell them 'when you see me sitting down,I just don't feel too good. In my mind, I'm thinking 'well I can't keep telling 'em that, I'm gonna get fired. I'd better get to the doctor and see what's making me so tired all the time."

That fateful day in April, was a life-changing experience.

"I was really feeling good in the doctor's office after he did some tests," says Andrew, "and I told the doctor that. He said, 'well, that's fine, but I;m going to have to put you in the hospital today. TODAY.. I mean, right away."

"You have leukemia.. chronic leukemia."

Those five words hit Andrew like a ton of bricks, but explained a lot. Extreme tiredness is one of the major symptoms of chronic leukemia that often goes un-noticed by its victims.

"I asked him if I could first go talk to my mother, my sister, and he said fine, but I need to check you in TODAY. Although I still felt pretty good, but tired easily, they checked me in. The rest of the day went by in slow motion."

Chronic leukemia is caused by too many white cells in the blood. In the United States, more than 20,000 people have it, and about 4,600 new cases are diagnosed every year, according to the Cancer Center of America. Often, people do not notice any symptoms at all, blaming the tiredness, headaches, or enlarged spleen on something else. Of the two forms of leukemia, chronic is the easier to treat; acute leukemia attacks the body much more aggressively.

"When I went to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, the doctors started talking to me about the possibility of a bone marrow transplant," Andrew says, "if a person matches to my exact bone marrow. If they can give me enough bone marrow, it would get my system to make new white cells and even out the count."

"There just are not as many donors out there as are needed," he said, "and that's potentially life-threatening."

That's why Andrew came to the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Transplant Drive, held at the Bethel AME Church in Riverview on Saturday, October 24, 2009. He was there to offer encouragement to people who stopped by to be swabbed and have their results sent off to see if somebody matches them...somewhere.

To see pictures of the bone marrow drive at Bethel, please click Bone Marrow Transplant at Bethel.

"It warms my heart to see my friends and neighbors come out to offer themselves as bone marrow transplant possibilities," he says. "It makes me feel good that people are willing to come out and help. It's not just for me, it's for everybody. Even if they don't match up with me, they might match up with somebody else around the country."

Andrew knew most of the Riverview folks being tested this evening.. some people he did not know. One of those was Ronald Mitchell, formerly of Chattanooga. He and his family have lived in Kingsport the past 11 years, and didn't think too much about the importance of possibly being a bone marrow transplant. That is, until he heard about the drive.

"It really hit me hard," he says. "Just to think that I might have something that might save somebody's life. It makes me feel kind of special, knowing that I, and other people, are needed. People need this kind of help, and it's people you don't even know. Being the kind of person that I am, it sort of moved me into that feeling, where I'm also interested in what's going on in other people's lives, and where they might need help."

"My daughter was very interested in the program, once she heard what it involves," says Ronald. "It kinda put in her mind that at some point, everybody in this world needs somebody else at some point, whether they know them or not. Mwife was kinda sheltered about my decision. We talked about it, and I said, 'I might not be a match, but just think.. if I am, the life of a senior citizen could be saved, the life of a little baby could be saved. A person who has suffered through the illness all of their life, COULD BE SAVED with a transplant. You don't know where your bone marrow is going, but it doesn't matter. Knowing that I could be a part of that, means a great deal to me, and she understood."

"We all have the power to help and the power to give hope."

That is the motto of the new "Be The Match" registry program operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). The program has been around for the past 20 years, giving hope and saving lives through matching bone marrow transplants. The N.M.D.P says the lives of thousands of people have been save from transplants of bone marrow and unbilical cord blood.

"I'm pretty optmistic about finding a match one day," Andrew says. "Until then, I'd had to completely change my life around. No more working in the yard.. I like to mow my grass, work in the yard, but the doctors won't let me do that now. I might sink to a level that I can't bounce back from. I was hoping to grow old, be an old man, retire early. 6 more years, I could retire at 62, and maybe find a less-strenuous job just to keep busy. God had a different plan for me, and now He wants me to travel around and tell people how to beat this illness, how to cope with it, and how important bone marrow donation is."

"I love my friends and family, and I'm a lot closer to them now," he says. "Meeting new people and hearing their commitment to help the donation process just makes you feel good.

"Somebody here, may be saving a life somewhere, sometime soon."

For more informatoin about the "Be The Match" Bone Marrow Transplant Progam, please call the Cooperative Appalachian Marrow Program at 1-866-680-01371 or (800) MARROW2 (1-800-627-7692). You can also click on this link: Be The Match.

New Vision Kids Present Anti-Drug Message to Riverview

It was a RED LETTER day on the streets of Riverview on Saturday, October 24, 2009, as the DEFY Kids and the New Vision Youth Kids celebrated RED RIBBON DAY.

To see more pictures from the event, please click on Red Ribbon Day for DEFY-New Vision Youth Kids.

"Red Ribbon Day began as a way to remember the life lost, when a federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Agent) was tortured and murdered in the line of duty, on the Mexican border," Weed and Seed Coordinator Mary Alexander told the group of kids. "The commemoration spread across the nation, and today, we remember that in a week of awareness for children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse."

Kingsport's commemoration began with a march around the Riverview Neighborhood, with the kids chanting "No to Drugs," "Hugs, not Drugs," and "Keeping our Life Drug-Free." The march and parade drew curious looks from a group of Kingsporters playing touch football on the Douglass ballfield, but looks of encouragement from Riverview residents, whose homes were passed by the marchers.

"This means a lot to the kids," says New Vision Director Johnnie Mae Swaggerty. "Some of them have had family members involved with drug and alcohol abuse, and they themselves have been through the drug awareness classes that show them how dangerous the abuse can be. Today's program reinforces that belief that they have to take a stand to be drug and alcohol-free."

After the march around the neighborhood, the program began in the Fresh Start office conference room with skits done by the kids, all of them with an anti-drug, anti-alcohol abuse message. The kids enjoyed reciting what they had learned, in real- life, real-time situations that they might come across every day. "Somewhere in all of that," says Johnnie Mae, "they may pick up something they can carry with them the rest of their lives."

Earlier, the kids had written essays proclaiming their commitment to living drug and alcohol-free lives, and winners were selected from the entries. "The essays were wonderful," Mrs. Alexander told the group. "Jeannie Hodges, Paul Montgomery and I read them and judged them for originality and expression, and we were pleased with them.

Below are the essays, as read to the group by the winners (these have been edited for spelling):

DRUG FREE AND MY FUTURE (1st Place) from Xena Huff, 12 years old. (Xena was absent today, her entry was read by her friend, Briesha Camp):

"When I grow up, I want to go into the Armed Forces. I am going to an NCIS. In order to fullfill my academic dreams, I must be DRUG FREE. If I am drug-free, I can keep my head on. I can use my brain and do what must be done. And what must be done is my future. And my future is drug-free. I know if I'm not drug-free, I will get in trouble and there goes my life and my future. I wish everyone could be drug free. I am drug-free and will always be drug-free. I pray to God that you and everyone else will become and life drug-free. DRUG FREE IS THE KEY!"

DRUG FREE AND MY FUTURE (2nd Place), by Brandon Pruitt, 5th Grade:

"I DO NOT want to do drugs because it will hurt my lungs, KILL me. I can also cause lung cancer and brain damage. Here is a list of drugs:
1. Cigarette--it can cause young fingers.
2. Alcohol--can kill you and cause pupiness and make you crazy.
3. Tobacco--can make you have black lungs.
4. Marijuana--can cauxse lung cancer, liver cancer, brain damage, lupiness and craziness.
Now that is wny I don't want to drugs because it can kill you and it can affect the pepole and our children and our future, so people, quit doing drugs and you may change our future. And this is coming from Brandon K. Pruitt, a drug free kid and I am a member of DEFY, Drug Education For Youth, and New Vision Youth."

DRUG FREE MY FUTURE (1st Place, Middle School) from Ayleanna Camp, 6th Grade:

"In my future, I want to do all kinds of things, but if I do drugs, my future is ruined. Can you keep your balance when you're high? I know that I can't. That will mess with ballet. Plus it will mess with my education, too. There are many more things that drugs can mess up. Including how long you live. All drugs can kill you. The first time you take them, because your body isn't used to the drug. So you r body doesn't know how to fight off the drugs. That is how you can dit the first time. I don't want to shorten my life. I want to live as long as possible. There are people who have trouble saying no to drugs. Well I can say no in a heart beat. So I can do any thing I want to do. I will probably need to find new friends. Good ones at that. So now, do you see why I can't do drugs and how it will mess up my future. I hope you will take my advice and not do ddrugs. You don't want to mess up your future, do you?"

DRUG FREE, MY FUTURE (2nd Place, Middle School), by Diamond W., John Sevier:

"In my future, I want to be a lawyer. Never, ever do drugs, it is an awful, awful thing to do to our bodies. Smoking can make you do things you will regret later on in life. Smoking also damages your lungs and makes it harder for you to breath. They also make your teeth yellow and your breath smell bad. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and may complicate pregnancy. In cigarettes, there is this tuff nicotine that makes smokes addicted. If you smoke, it hurts people and also can kill you. It isn't the last cigarette that kills you, it is the first one. I promise to you and my family."

DRUG FREE AND MY FUTURE (3rd Place, Elementary School) by Kimne

"My future is to be drug free because your teeth are yellow and your nails turn down. That's why and you can die. My grandma did it. When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. I love you."

Also receiving a special award, was Cassie Russell, 2nd grade, Elementary essay.

The kids were also given pledge cards for home and school, displaying that they are drug free. "You may be young," Mrs. Alexander told the group, "but when it comes to those kinds of detrimental things, you have to make your own decisions because it's your life that it will destroy."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ebony Club Alumni Association Monday Conference Call

Hey, family:

Just wanted to remind everyone that the conference call to discuss the 2010 Ebony Club Fashion and Talent Show is scheduled for Monday, October 26th at 9:00 p.m.

The conference call-in number is (646) 716-5918.

This initial conversation should last about an hour, but I can extend it if needed. I look forward to chatting with you on Monday, October 26th at 9:00 p.m.

Be blessed, and continue to be a blessing.

Jeff "Pac-Man" Faulkerson
(919) 604-4585 (cell)

Visit Ebony Club Alumni Association at:

Teenager Accused of Painting Racist Graffiti on I-26 Overpass

Editor's Note: To view exclusive pictures of the graffiti on the overpass, originally shown on the Douglass Website on April 21st, please click Racist Graffiti Pictures.
Your Douglass Website broke this story exclusively back on April 19th.. the original story is below:

Graffiti referenced President Obama as ‘the modern Hitler’ and said ‘all blacks must die’ and ‘KKK.’



KINGSPORT — A 19-year-old Kingsport man has been indicted on a charge of vandalism after allegedly spray painting graffiti that was “racist, obscene and threatening to President Obama” on an Interstate 26 overpass.

The case against Andy B. Frye, 1608 Seaver Road, is currently pending in Sullivan County Criminal Court. Kingsport Police Department Detective Chris Tincher said evidence was presented to the grand jury last month.

According to a press release from police, the vandalism was reported April 19th on the Meadowview Parkway I-26 overpass. Some of the graffiti referenced Obama as “the modern Hitler,” while other beams read “all blacks must die” and “KKK.”

Photos of the graffiti are posted on the Web site of the Douglass Alumni Association, a community group based in the Riverview community of Kingsport.

Tincher said Frye was developed as a suspect following a piece on the vandalism that was aired by WCYB.

Anonymous tipsters then contacted Kingsport police and implicated Frye.
Frye has not admitted to being the culprit, Tincher said.

Tincher added that the tipsters said Frye had also posted racist and anti-Obama comments on the Internet, but authorities were unable to verify those claims.

Police said the Tennessee Department of Transportation spent nearly $1,000 on repairs.

Arrest Made in Racist Graffiti Scrawled at Meadowview



A 19-year-old Kingsport man has been indicted for vandalism in connection with spray painted graffiti on an I-26 overpass that police are calling "racist, obscene and threatening to President Obama."

The case against Andy B. Frye, 1608 Seaver, is currenlty pending in Sullivan County Criminal Court.

According to a Kingsport Police Department press release the vandalism was reported on April 19 on the Meadowview Parkway I-26 overpass.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation spent over $900 to get rid of the graffiti.

Frye was developed as a suspect in the vandalism and evidence from the investigation was presented to a Sullivan County Grand Jury.

Frye was indicted by the Grand Jury for vandalism over $500.00.

Racist Graffiti Discovered in Kingsport - Article Reprint


The specter of racism has reared its ugly head in the Kingsport area once again.

This past Sunday, an African-American Kingsport resident, on the way to visit relatives on the south end of town, noticed at least three or four different racist graffiti writings on the concrete supports underneath the Interstate 26 bridge over Reservoir Road. The first one read "All blacks must die" on the bottom concrete support arch. The location is within direct sight of the Meadowview Conference and Convention Center, and was also visible from all four entrance and exit ramps to I-26.

The area is considered the modern gateway to Kingsport.

Another writing is not printable, but the picture says it all. The use of the n-word, although misspelled, was reminiscent of something our forefathers endured many years ago. There were also references to the "KKK" and a phallic symbol. At this point, nobody knows how many motorists and passersby saw the writings.

A third graffiti writing, read "Obama will be killed." The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are currently investigating threats like that against the president, allegedly leveled by two government-described white supremacists in West Tennessee. Both Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman want government prosecutors to throw out evidence collected against them, saying they were illegally arrested and searched. Both men are jailed without bond, and no trial date has been set.

Ramon Willis was with family, when one of his family members got a call about the graffiti. Mr. Willis and some of his family went out to see for themselves, and says he was overwhelmed by what he read, scrawled on the bridge supports. But a bigger surprise was yet to come.

"When we first got out there," he says, "this white man stopped and came up to us saying 'please don't hurt my daughter, please don't hurt my daughter.' We all looked at each other like, what is this man talking about? It was then he said his daughter's boyfriend did it and what shocked us was, he said, he had done it before, right here in this same spot. We just couldn't believe it, and when we went closer, we saw where it had been painted over before, a couple of times in that same spot."

"People were riding by," he says. "Some of them were astonished, some of them stopped with their mouths open, some people couldn't believe what they were seeing. Some white guys were riding by grinning, like oh it's down like that, all kinds of stuff. I wondered why none of the media was out there, why didn't they come out and take a look at that stuff. It was just crazy."

"After we were out there a while, things started getting crazier," Mr. Willis says, "and then the cops came and started taking pictures, too. They were talking about (Saturday and Sunday) being Prom Night and they didn't know who drew all this, but they said they would call the state (DOT, who maintains state and interstate highways in Tennessee). After the cops took pictures, they left. We left and came back 2, 3 hours later and the highway department was out there covering it up."

For the record, this reporter sent an email to the Kingsport Police Department through their website, and is waiting to hear back concerning any investigation the department may be doing on the racist graffiti.

"I cannot believe that 45 years after the Civil Rights Movement, I am still seeing this nonsense, and in my former community," says Tanisha Charles, whose family member first saw the graffiti and photographed it. "Obviously, the perpetrators of this crime are ignorant and ill-educated because of what they wrote."

Ms. Charles was bothered enough by the racist graffiti, to send a concerned note to the city of Kingsport. In her letter "To Whom It May Concern," Ms. Charles talked about the "negative light shed on a community already notorious for racial prejudice and opposition." She also said she hoped the city "is taking strides to remove this disgraceful portrayal of a People whose country used them to become the country it is today," and she further hopes "that someone in Kingsport is doing something to try and bridge the racial gap that exists in the area."

In response, Ms. Charles received a response from Tim Whaley, Kingsport's Community and Government Relations Director, who wrote to her "it is with the greatest regret that we find such shameful, horrific language scrawled on an overpass in our fair city." Mr. Whaley went on to write "Words are totally insufficient to express our outrage, frustration and despair that someone might still harbor such ignorant views. Please allow me to express how deeply ashamed we are, that anyone in the region might spew such hate."

Also in his letter to Ms. Charles, Mr. Whaley says the city "continues to endeavour fiercely to heal the racial divides of the past, and have invested more than $20 million dollars, partly in partnership with the federal government to provide new housing opportunities, employment and educationa opportunities, replacing deteriorating 1940's-era housing and creat a first-class community center in the Riverview area that provides new opportunities, while embracing the heritage of the former Douglass High School." He also mentions that the new $8 million dollar V.O. Dobbins Center project is funding entirely with local dollars.

Ms. Charles says the response from the city was fairly immediate, but Mr. Willis says, more is needed.

"I was really upset by the comments from the Whaley man from the city," Mr. Willis says. "The city hasn't done anything for us yet. They can't even keep dudes from putting up garbage like this, because that man said dude has done it before."

It wasn't too long ago, last fall in fact, that racial graffiti was observed on a road sign near New Canton, the location of one of upper East Tennessee's oldest African-American communities. A yellow caution sign signaling "children at play" was spray-painted with a racist derogatory reference to the n-word on a country road, less than a mile from New Canton's black residential area. The picture sparked outrage from people near and far, black and white, decrying the intolerance and ignorance of some people.

Again from at least before Sunday until Sunday afternoon, it is not know how many people saw this latest form of racism.

Ms. Charles says, no one should tolerate this kind of ignorance, saying if racist graffiti or anything else racial in nature is observed anywhere in the area, she urges residents to speak out about it.

Mr. Willis has a different view.

"I was just visiting," he says, "and I'm thinking 'you all still got this stuff going on here, in this town, right NOW? I don't live here, but I don't know if I would want to come back, knowing that somebody thinks bad enough about black people, to put it up in public and get away with it."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weed and Seed to mark Red Ribbon Week

• KINGSPORT — South Central Kingsport Weed and Seed will celebrate Red Ribbon Week on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. at Ferguson Park at the V.O. Dobbins Fields, 1101 Martin L. King Drive in Kingsport. South Central youth, under the direction of Johnnie Mae Swagerty, will conduct a drug prevention march and present dramatizations on drug prevention as well as their drug prevention essays. The public is invited to attend. Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program. By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free life and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent EnriquĂ© “Kiki” Camarena.

Neighborhood Watch to meet Monday

• KINGSPORT — South Central Kingsport Weed and Seed Neighborhood Watch will meet Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Fresh Start Center, Bethel AME Zion Church, 812 Maple Oak Lane, Kingsport. For additional information, contact Mary Alexander, 392-2578

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Artwork at the "New" V.O. Dobbins Center: "The Sky's The Limit"

"The sky's the limit on the artwork we can bring to the new V.O. Dobbins Center."

That word from Martha Beverly, Cultural Arts Coordinator for the City of Kingsport, at a meeting between Riverview-Douglass Alumni members, and Kingsport Arts administrators. The meeting was held Wednesday, to discuss planned artwork for the renovated V.O. Dobbins Center when its construction is finished.

Kingsport's Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed an ordinance that says a portion of any new construction project in the city, will be allocated for public art, up to $75,000. Previously, any artwork for a project was not considered until after the project was completed, but now, planning is done and the money allocated, is done on the front end of the project, even before it is finished.

That brings the V.O. Dobbins renovation to the forefront of the Kingsport Arts Community, possibly the most ambitious undertaking the arts community has faced so far.

Chairing the meeting were Ms. Beverly; Dineen West of Cain, Rash, West Architects, the building's designers; Doris Bush with the United Way of Greater Kingsport, who is also serving as coordinator for all of the non-profits that will be moving into the new parts of the building; and Mark Kilgore, program coordinator for Kingsport Parks and Recreation. In the audience were residents of Riverview, Douglass Alumni, members of some of the non-profit agencies moving into the building when it opens, and city and housing administrators.

"The possibility of qualiity artwork makes the project excitable," Mrs. West told the group. "We have the opportunity to place artwork in many places both inside and outside the building, because of the modernistic way it is designed."

Mrs. West told the group of several locations that lend themselves to outside artwork.

"A great opportunity is at the stone front of the Dobbins Center," she said. "It could be a modern piece, a more traditional piece, but some kind of art right in the front that people will see when they enter the building."

"We will also have a flagpole on the Louis Street side," she said, "and if we wanted to do patriotic kind of art, we can do that as well. The American Legion is one of the non-profit agencies in the building, and they will be in charge of raising and lowering the flagpole every day."

Since the Headstart classrooms will have a new entrance on the Wheatley Street side at the rear of the present building, Mrs. West says, there is also the chance for artwork that lends itself to children's imaginations.

"We can paint the walls, we can do children's artwork and sculptures," she says, "just about anything from a child's point of view."

The inside, she says, also has a lot of artwork possibilities.

"When you come in the non-profit tower entrance," says Mrs. West, "all three of those lobbies can have some artwork, again, either art on the walls, photography.. in the Douglass Community Room itself, there are chances for artwork, down the hallways, even the lobbies of the gyms."

But the main focus seems to be the Douglass Community Room, and its ties to Riverview and the former Douglass High School.

"Calvin has helped me with the athletic trophies that you have from the Douglass football and basketball programs," says Mrs. West. "As a result of the number of trophies he has, we have custom-designed three trophy cases in the building, three different opportunities to put trophies on display. When you come in the main entrance, there'll be a trophy case in the main hall. Then, there's a hallway that comes down to the Douglass Community Room where a trophy case will be, and then there's one inside the Douglass Room itself. If you want all of them to have a theme or just one, you can have a theme. You can also make one of the cases for neighborhood displays that are interchangeable, because we have enough room for all of the trophies that Calvin has."

The arts folks are also planning to use black-and-white photography on the walls in the new office, much like the photography in the Fresh Start office on MLK Drive. "I'd like to see some of that as background behind the trophies," she says. "Perhaps, football and basketball pictures of the teams, after-school activities. Things of that nature are very sentimental."

As far as colors, the Douglass Tigers Blue and Gold will carry the major color scheme in the renovated building. "We have actually selected the colors for the new gym," says Mrs. West. "The new gym will have a blue and gold stripe aorund it. The new bleachers will be blue and gold, and the stripes on the floor will also be a blue and gold hue. It's important to keep that Douglass School connection."

"Even in the Douglass Room, we have sort of, toned it down there, a softer blue and gold color scheme in there," she says. "We're also picking up that blue and gold theme in the children's classrooms in Headstart, so we're repeating that theme quite a bit."

"Just looking at what we were able to do at the Splash Pad gives us a lot of ideas," says Mrs. Beverly. "The mural at the Splash Pad was the first public art project ever completed in the city. It is so beautiful all around that building, and if you can just imagine if we had not had the per cent for art, money allocated for that mural and the ideas that came out of that, it would have been just another brick building."

After the overall presentation, the meeting was turned over to suggestions from the community.

Stella Robinette mentioned artists of Douglass and Riverview descendants, who exhibit their artworks during Black History Month celebrations. "If we could contact them and let them know of the artwork needed," she said, "they could make a wonderful contribution to the community, by giving back their talents. One person I know of, lives in New York and his artist son lives elsewhere, but he had his son send artwork down here to be shown."

That brought up a "Call to Artists" notification from Mrs. Beverly, that is soon to go out.

"We plan to put out a request for all local artists, particularly those in the Riverview-Douglass community, or their descendants," she says. "That process comes through the city purchasing department, and goes out to anybody and everybody. We would also like to have some temporary artwork space, for local artists to show off their work in the V.O. Dobbins building. What you all did last year during Black History Month was just fabulous. We heard a lot of good things from people in the community about the wonderful exhibits, and even if it's temporary, we could always bring it back as permanent artwork. We could easily dedicate a wall of 'temporary artist exhibit space,' in addition to the permanent space."

"Anyone who knows an artist that would be interested in receiving the 'Call for Artists' which outlines exactly what artwork is needed and how it will be displayed, needs to get those names, addresses and phone numbers to to us as soon as possible," said Kingsport Assistant City Manager Chris McCartt. "We can advertise it in the paper, too, but if we know of the people, we can contact them directly.. that's the easiest way."

Johnnie Mae Swaggerty, director of the New Vision Youth Kids program, expressed ideas about the Headstart wing, based on the success of the Splash Pad.

"We could also have little Tiger paws, leading from the Splash Pad to the Headstart entrance," she suggested. "That keeps with the children's theme on that side of the building. I also like the idea of using a "Back to the Future" theme in the Douglass Community Room, with pictures of people that have grown up in the community. It goes back to the history of the neighborhood, but to the future of the community."

"We also saved the old steeple from the Carver Library," K.H.R.A Director Terry Cunningham told the group. "It's made of copper, a unique feature that could also be a form of permanent artwork. We also saved the original Carver library sign that was painted for the front of the building over the doors. We also have in storage, the original bronze sign plate for the Riverview Apartments, that used to be on the flagpole on Lincoln Streeet. It is also considered historic artwork."

In response to many suggestions to the website and out in the public, Calvin brought up the possibility of statues of Frederick Douglass and V.O. Dobbins, Sr. to be placed somewhere in the new building. Turns out, the price of statues may be cost-prohibited. The cost of even a bust of the subject would begin somewhere in the $40,000 to $75,000 range, and since the TOTAL budget for artwork is around $75,000 maximum as mandated by the city, all of the available money would be spent immediately. If there is an alternative, city officials said it would check, and some kind of statue might still be a possibility.

Calvin also mentioned the fact that the former Langston High School has a marker from the Tennessee Historical Commission outside its former building in Johnson City, for people to read about that school's heritage, and see that that building has been recognized by the state for its historical significance. He stated that the process is already moving to get an historical marker for the former Douglass High School, "at the time of its closing, the largest African-American high school in upper East Tennessee."

And then, there are about 30 original seats, saved (or rather, rescued) from the demolition of the historic Douglass Auditorium. "One place I thought of specifically for a set of auditorium seats," Mrs. West said, "is right outside the office in the Douglass Community Room. We also have ideas about placing them in various locations throughout the building. Calvin had mentioned the idea of small, engraved plaques on them, dedicated to the memory of loved ones in the school and the neighborhood by community residents and alumni."

"It's good that we have several items that could be considered artwork already," says Mrs. West. "There will be other things for us to decide on during this process, and now is the time for us to get most of that done. Permanent artwork and sculptures that need to be set in concrete have to be decided on almost immediately. Pictures and exhibits we'll need to start on in the next few weeks. I'm sure you all have seen the progress the contractor is making on the building. It may be finished well ahead of schedule and if that's the case, we need to be ready to move our artwork right in."

One last thing the group was asked to do, was to place red dots where the participants would like to see permanent artwork placed in the building.

Mrs. Beverly says, there's one thing working between the Riverview neighborhood and the Arts Community concerning the V.O. Dobbins building.

"The good part is, we have the money on the front end to fund some excellent displays, not to turn the place into a museum, but into a showplace of artwork."