Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dobyns-Bennett’s Girls Ride 12-0 Run to Tourney Crown -- Morrisette Leads Scorers


NET News Service

GRAY — Down by one at the half, Dobyns-Bennett’s Lady Indians used a 12-0 run in the third quarter to overtake Hampton for a 51-44 victory in Saturday’s championship game of the Johnson City Honda Invitational at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.

After going into the locker room trailing 23-22, the Lady Indians (11-3) held the Lady Bulldogs (13-4) scoreless over a sevenminute stretch.

Once in the lead, the Lady Indians held on after Hampton closed within five and later to four points in the closing minutes.

D-B’s Sasha Morrisette put the final dagger in Hampton’s hopes by breaking to the basket and getting scores. Morrisette, who led all scorers with 23 points in the final, earned tournament MVP honors.

“I like the rush, the momentum and the bond,” Morrisette said of the big moments as she looked toward her sister Cydnee, also an all-tournament selection. “We have a special bond. It shows in a lot of our plays.”

D-B took early command with a 14-8 lead at the end of one quarter only to see the scrappy Lady Bulldogs turn up the pressure in the second quarter and take a 23-22 lead at the half on Monica Olvera’s bucket.

D-B coach Roger France said his team was a little rattled when it entered the locker room.

“In the second quarter, we got really frustrated,” he said. “Hampton played well, the crowd got into it and it was a very physical game. But we played through that. We got our starters in foul trouble, but our other kids picked it up.”

Leading Hampton’s comeback in the fourth quarter, Dorothy Dugger finished with 16 points. Alexis Bowers added a 13-point effort and Paige Montgomery worked inside for a team-best nine rebounds.

Two of Riverview's Finest Will Play Football for Tennessee


KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett gridiron stars Malik Foreman and Devaun Swafford are elite all right — but now with a capital “T.” As in “T-E-N-N-E-S-S-E-E.”

As in “T--O-G-E-T-H-E-R."

On Friday, Foreman, the Times-News Northeast Tennessee Elite Player of the Year for 2012, and Swafford, a running back on this year’s Elite squad, committed to play for new coach Butch Jones at Tennessee. Foreman committed to Vanderbilt in late October, but the change of command in Knoxville brought with it a new opportunity. Jones, hired by UT on Dec. 7, has gone on the record with his commitment to keep instate players in state. He contacted the D-B duo and they made an unofficial visit to campus in the middle of December. Jones is a “great guy with a great attitude,” Swafford told the Times-News on Saturday night. UT offered Swafford a grayshirt opportunity, meaning he would go on full scholarship in January 2014. If an extra scholarship were to open up in the spring, Swafford said, he could get that.

“I’m going to enroll (at Tennessee) in August and practice with the team regardless,” he said.

UT is looking at the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder as a defensive back — and he knows the challenge he faces in the Southeastern Conference.

“I’ll have to get bigger and faster to play in the SEC,” said Swafford, who rushed for 29 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards in 2012, also hauling in four TD passes.

Foreman, who will be a member of Tennessee’s Class of 2013, began the year as a wide receiver for the Tribe before an injury forced his move to quarterback. The Big 8 Conference player of the year then started nine games as D-B’s signal-caller, compiling more than 1,800 yards of offense while leading the Indians to the TSSAA Class 6A quarterfinals.

On the defensive side of the ball, Foreman had a Big 8-best six interceptions this past season, returning two for touchdowns. He recorded eight pass break-ups, forced seven fumbles and notched five tackles for loss.

Tennessee is looking at Foreman at defensive back or wide receiver.

National signing day is Feb. 6.


Friday, December 28, 2012

One of Kingsport's Own, Helping the Less Fortunate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee introduced the Mobile Food Pantry program in July 2007 to deliver fresh produce, dairy products and other grocery items directly to individuals in need.

Last Friday, with the help of Tennessee Titans’ cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, Second Harvest served more than 250 families in need at the Mobile Food Pantry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Nashville.

Sensabaugh donated $1,500 to underwrite the cost of canned items, staple foods and a seasonal canned ham for the holidays to families in need through the Mobile Food Pantry facilitated through Catholic Charities at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

With the help of this generous donation, the families in need were supplied with five to seven days of nutritious food that they otherwise would not have the means to acquire.

“The Mobile Pantry program that Second Harvest does is a great way to get nutritious food into the hands of those who need it,” said Sensabaugh. “I feel honored to be a part of the food donations for this Mobile Pantry and to have the opportunity to see firsthand the impact it has on the families in need.”

In addition to the monetary donation, Sensabaugh was onsite at the Mobile Food Pantry on Friday serving as a volunteer to distribute food to those in need.

“Having individuals in our community like Coty Sensabaugh that donate time, money and food to the food bank’s efforts are vital to our success in feeding the hungry throughout Middle Tennessee,” said Jaynee Day, President and CEO of Second Harvest. “We are grateful for Coty’s generosity and appreciate his willingness to not only donate the funds to make this Mobile Food Pantry possible, but to also donate his time to help distribute the food to those in need.”

One in six adults and one in four children are struggling with hunger in Tennessee. Donations to Second Harvest help to fund the Food Bank's feeding programs and food resources for emergency food assistance programs in 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee.

For more information on supporting Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, please visit Updates are also available on Twitter (@2harvestmidtn), Facebook (Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee) and at

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Reunion Postponed until 2014


The board of Sons and Daughters of Douglass voted to postpone the upcoming reunion until 2014.

Our funds are low and we want to use 2013 as a fund raiser. We already have several events planned for next year, along with our annual golf outing.

This is not the first time that the reunion has been put off so don't fret, we will still have a reunion. We just want to make it exciting for you and that takes money. Please be patient with us and plan on joining us in 2014 for a school reunion.

I want to wish each of you a very merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous new year.

Virginia (Jenny) Hankins, President
Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Christmas Lights in Riverview

Remember when we all used to walk around the Riverview neighborhood during the holiday season and admire the Christmas lights on our neighbors' homes and in their yards?

Well, if you can't get out at night and admire the lights, as a holiday treat, we are bringing the lights to you.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a slideshow of pictures of your neighbor's Christmas lights, ending with the huge Kingsport Christmas tree on the Church Circle.. pictures that are your website's Christmas present to you!

Happy holidays from the Sons and Daughters of Douglass website!

Created with flickr slideshow.

Christmas Dinner for the Riverview Seniors

Seniors in the Riverview community came out to celebrate the Christmas season on Saturday, December 8, 2012, as the annual Christmas dinner, sponsored by the non-profit South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation.

"The dinner has been held for more than 12 years," says Jeannie Hodges of South Central Kingsport. "It's a community unity event, designed to bring the senior citizens together during the Christmas season."

More 75 seniors came out for the event, and they enjoyed roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, iced tea, coffee and a wide variety of desserts and rolls.

"It's important for the community to come together as one unit, and fellowship," says Mrs. Hodges. "It's good not to have any problems, any worries or any strife.. just coming out, enjoying each other's company and havinge fun together."


Created with flickr slideshow.

The South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation partners with Kingsport Parks and Recreation Community Services Division, Van Dobbins, Jr, KHRA and the New Vision Youth to bring the dinner to the seniors.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting on Saturday

Hello everyone,

I hope this note finds you all in good spirits. We will be meeting at the V.O. Dobbins center this Saturday the 15th at 1 PM.

It is imperative that we all do our best to attend because we will be giving out tickets for our fund raiser breakfast in January.

Also those of you who are going to attend the Chamber function, we were given a table but each person will have to pay $100.00. I need to know at this meeting if you still plan to attend. The money has to be in by the first week in January.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Community Locked In: Riverview and the Race


"We were totally caught off guard. There was no way out of Riverview."

No, this was not a remembrance of the Eastman explosion of 1960, during which emergency vehicles blocked the entrance to the Riverview neighborhood for several hours.

Fast forward almost 52 years to the day of that blockade, to where the entrances and exits from Kingsport's black community were once again restricted.

This time, it was for a foot race, not a chemical explosion.


On Saturday, October 27, 2012, both the M.L.K Drive-Wilcox Drive-Lincoln Street crossing and the Industry Drive-Wheatley Street intersection had barricades up, to allow racers in the Haunted Half Marathon and Boo-to-Brew 4-person Relay. At the M.L.K. crossing, a Kingsport city police officer with flashing blue lights stopped traffic to allow the runners to proceed through; meanwhile, a city public works employee with barricades did the same at Industry-Wheatley. The result was extremely long waits to get in and out of Riverview, for about 4 or 5 hours.


Check out the map on the right. It is of the race route. As you can see, it starts in downtown Kingsport at the Food City-Farmers Market parking lot, and after several switchbacks through downtown, the route finally gets to Wilcox Drive, then down and along Industry Drive to Netherland Inn Road and back over to West Center Street to its beginning point.

If you look down in the lower right corner, really close, you'll see... only one neighborhood in Kingsport is completely within the entire route, absolutely, totally inside the race perimeter.

That neighborhood is Riverview.


"There are only two ways to get in and out of Riverview, and our neighborhood was completely isolated," says Jeannie Hodges with the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation. "I don't want to think of what would have happened if there had been an emergency when seconds count. What if fire trucks had run up against the runners? Would they have stopped?"


"With any course we run, police are instructed to let emergency vehicles have top priority by completely halting the race whereever the runners are," says Hank Brown, race organizer, who says his organization puts on at least 50 races all over the Tri-Cities and the surrounding area. "Police are told to absolutely let people come in or go out at prominent intersections, with the understanding there might be a delay while runners go through."

This writer experienced the delay firsthand.

While coming back from a photo shoot at Cleek's Corn Maze enroute back to the Central Baptist Church for its Fall Halloween Festival, I sat at the Lincoln-MLK-Wilcox intersection 10 minutes watching runners have the right-of-way along Wilcox. After 10 minutes, I gave up and had to take a circular route around downtown, up to Stone Drive, down to Fort Robinson, down to Netherland Inn Road, to Industry Drive to Wheatley. At Wheatley, I ran into more runners, plus the city worker and his barricade. I finally had to cut through the crowd of runners quickly and cut through the Johnson-Hilliard parking lot in a crowd of dust to get to Wheatley, while drawing a dirty look from the city worker.

My roundabout route around Riverview and downtown Kingsport added 15 minutes onto the 10 minutes I had already waited at the MLK-Wilcox-Lincoln Street intersection.

So what happened when I got to my destination inside Riverview?

At the Central Baptist Church where the Fall Festival was in full swing, organizer Jenece Williams was wondering why attendance at the event was down over last year.. there just didn't seem to be many children enjoying the fun and games, and not that many adults for that matter.

Her question about low attendance was answered, when one of her friends came up and told her that she couldn't drive into Riverview right away.

"She saw the runners at Wilcox and M.L.K. and motioned to the officer that she needed to get through. He told her that the entrance was blocked off, and she asked him 'well, how am I supposed to get through?' She said they went back and forth for a few minutes and so finally, she went up to the entrance to the Eastman parking lot, which is a private entrance, but goes through to Wheatley, and she cut through
right there. It was dangerous, but she did it."

"I realized there was an issue at that point."

"It hurt us," she said. "For this kind of event, I normally buy 40 pounds of fish and 40 pounds of chicken to fry up to sell to visitors, so that the Youth Department can make money to fund field trips and special activities for the kids up to age 18. Because nobody could get into Riverview, we didn't make nearly as much as we needed to break even. We ended up taking a big loss because we didn't sell as much. We can't keep that much food in the church freezers, so we'll just have to fry it up and give it away soon. Having the roads blocked really hurt our event."

"I'm so sorry for that," Brown said, when told of the loss. "We don't want that, or any complaints. We'll be glad to work with anyone around town having issues or problems and see what we can do. We want to make our event better because it looks good for the city, but not at the expense of an entire neighborhood. We don't want to paralyze anybody."

When faced with the map that shows Riverview inside the race perimeter, and the only two ways to get in or out of the neighborhood, Brown said he recognized how people might have felt shut in.


"It was definitely a communications failure on our part," he says. "Police are told to let people in and out during the race, and apparently we didn't communicate that strongly enough. We don't want people to think they can't get into Riverview."

When asked if it were possible to include a couple of Riverview people on the course planning and organizing committee for next year's race, Brown thought that was a good idea.

"It will include the neighborhood in the process and keep us as race organizers mindful of the impact on the community. We can definitely get insights from the Riverview community, because we are indeed encircling their neighborhood. With the popularity of the race course, we can definitely work together with Riverview to help us do a better job of getting people in and out."

"I can promise you that."

For Riverview folks either blocked in or kept out, that's one olive branch that will be accepted.

"I don't think anybody here in Riverview wants to keep the race from coming by," says Jeannie Hodges. "We just don't want it to keep us from doing the things we would normally do on a Saturday, like go to the grocery store, or go to the mall, or go visit somebody. Eastman doesn't block us out whenever they have their race, because there's at least one way out for us."

Jenece Williams echoed those sentiments.

"Our little Fall Festival wasn't as big a deal as a race with thousands of participants in it," she says. "But I would ask the race organizers to just be mindful of our needs, too, since their race route completely surrounded Riverview," she says. "I mean, Kingsport is a city where we all work together, we work out issues."

"We and our little event are important, too."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Seniors Christmas Dinner

The annual Holiday Dinner for Seniors in the Riverview Community (age 55 and up) will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2012, from 5 PM to 7 PM.

The location will be in the Douglass Community Room in the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex, 301 Louis Street, Kingsport.

The dinner is free to the public.

There will be food, fun and games for everyone.

For more information, contact Jeannie Hodges (423) 378-2927,

Partners: South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, Inc.
Kingsport Parks and Recreation, Community Services Division
New Vision Youth
Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority
V.O. Dobbins, Jr.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Turkey Bowl: Working Off that Thanksgiving Meal for a Good Cause


Back in the day, young men in Riverview had a tradition of excellence.

Every Thanksgiving after feasting on the holiday feast prepared by their families, young men would gather at the Douglass Ballfield. It would always start off with two guys, just passing a football back and forth.

Other guys would see them out there, and join in just passing the football back and forth. Some of them were making athletic plays out there, running and streching, and showing off their football prowess for the friends they grew up with.

Before you knew it, there would sometimes be 20, maybe 30 young men out there. One thing would lead to another and sides would be chosen up, and next thing you know, there would be a full-fledged football game going one, right there on the ballfield. It attracted residents in the neighborhood, who would come out to watch.

It was the football game which had no name. Just guys with nothing to do after a Thanksgiving feast.

Fast forward to now.

The 2012 Turkey Bowl, in honor of Thanksgiving Day, is in its second year, and in its reincarnation, it's making sure needy children have a happy Christmas. Oddly enough, it features many children and grandchildren of some of those same athletes.


Created with flickr slideshow.

"I got the idea for the Turkey Bowl from watching our folks in Riverview take care of each other," says Fred Smith, organizer of the event. "Folks always coming through for each other and enjoying time with friends."

"Last year, we collected toys for children in the community," says Smith. "Those kids otherwise would not have had a good Christmas. It means a lot to be able to provide them toys, because we should give back to people who need it."

Toys are collected this year, too. 2 children selected from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program are the recipients of toys from the Turkey Bowl.

"The children are a 7 year old boy and a 7 year old girl," Smith says, "We gong to try and make sure they get what they want for Christmas. Last year, it was just 'let's get people to donate toys and then get those toys to kids in the community who need them for Christmas. The response was tremendous, and this year, it's going to be better."

Smith remembers those days as a child, he watched the Thanksgiving athletic competition without a name. "Folks would come out, or they'd pass by and stop, or they'd be sitting on their front porches on Louis Street, watching grown men having a blast. Pretty soon, it was a neighborhood event, and always exciting."

To cut down on possibily injury, the Turkey Bowl is always a no-contact event. It's flag football faceoff for the football fanatics in every neighborhood family. There's also a football event for the kids, too. There was also a raffle to raise money with the prize being an autographed jersey from D-B great Coty Sensabaugh, cornerback for the Tennessee Titans.

"We want the Turkey Bowl to get bigger and better every year, since it is now an annual event," Smith says. "We want to show kids that helping other people out is hard work, but it can be fun and exciting, too."

"We don't want them to wait until they've made it in life to start giving back to the neighborhood."

Toys will be accepted up until December 15th and then delivered to the Angel Tree children that were selected.

"Hopefully," Smith says, "it'll put a big ole smile on their faces."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012 Kingsport Christmas Parade

If you missed the 2012 Christmas Parade through downtown Kingsport, you missed one of the best Christmas parades in the entire region.

But not to worry. We have captured the pagentry, the majestry and the excitement of the marching bands, the floats, the traveling exhibits and of course, Jolly Ole St. Nick himself. Fresh from his trip on the world-famous "Santa Train," the jolly fat man in the red suit delighted the children and even their parents, who got nostalgic as they remembered the days when they awaited Santa's arrival on the train.

So, grab some popcorn, put on some good ole Christmas music, sit back and take a walk down Memory Lane with Kingsport's annual Christmas Parade. We captured pictures of every single float, band, exhibit, vehicle and walker in the parade (sometimes, 2 or 3 pictures---with a new camera that shoots in rapid succession, it's easy to do that, haha).

Created with flickr slideshow.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from your Douglass Website!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From Gretta Simon: Thanks to All


To all our friends, Vic Danger Fans, extended family and residents of Kingsport.
Sorry this note is late, it has been a difficult time.

I want to thank everyone for showing much love to me & The Simon Family.
Reflecting on all the expressions of sympathy from everyone. Your telephone messages, text messages, loving conversations, cards, flowers, and generous monetary gifts were very much accepted and appreciated. Your gentle touch, loving hugs and friendly kisses were comforting and became a source of strength. Thank you so much.

Victor always enjoyed coming home to Kingsport to visit with friends, family & classmates, and was thrilled to perform with his bands. His love of music became such an impact in both our lives.

We enjoyed many venues together from local clubs, private parties, holiday celebrations, tours with Harry Belafonte, & the Tyrone Smith Revue, they will always be our cherished memories.

During this part of my life.. as called the journey of grief.. it has been a painful experience. My trust in God has been my true comforter. When I sat back and reflected on this experience and the loss, I also become " thankful," for the many years Victor & I shared our lives together and the people that became a part of our lives also.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us in love and sincere empathy.
It has helped me and encouraged me so much. Victor is missed dearly, not only by me and his family, but from the show of love and respect from everyone in Kingsport... I am sure you miss him too.

Thank you for your love and prayers.

During this holiday season pray for the families who has had a recent loss, families that are experiencing their first holiday without their loved ones, and families that have difficulties during this season without their loved ones.

God is our comforter and our help.

Trusting Him,

Gretta Maxwell Simon

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Central Baptist Fall Children's Festival: Peek-a-BOOOO!

Halloween and Christianity.. they would seem to be total opposites, right?

Not when you're teaching children the Christian side of Halloween.

And yes.. there is a Christian side to All Hallow's Eve.

That's the purpose behind the Halloween Fall Children's Festival at the Central Baptist Church in Riverview.

"Halloween began as a Christian observance to expose the dark side of evil," says Central pastor Ricardo Dorcean. "Responsible people in the church teach children to laugh in the face of darkness, and rebuke the spirits of evil. Children in modern civilization do that by making witches as ugly as possible, and ghosts and goblins as mysterious as possible, in order to rebuke them."

With that modernization comes the fact that people spend money to celebrate the "holiday" of Halloween.

"The church," he says, is now reclaiming what has now become a commercial venture, and is trying to let the children have fun with it, but still put Christ in the center of it."

Admittedly, Central's Fall Festival incorporated a lot of fun in the commemoration.


Created with flickr slideshow.

About 75 to 100 children face-painted, played basketball on a miniature court, held bean bag competitions, and also celebrated Christianity with praise dancing, mimes and songs.

"It combines Christian values with a fun feel," says Pastor Dorcean.

Part of the festival was fundraising to raise money for trips for the children and young adults of the church. Fish and fish sandwiches were sold, which, along with free hot dogs, chips and drinks, kept the kids and adults nourished, but not far away from the festivities.

"It's been a marvelous event," Pastor Dorcean. "You can still have fun and praise God at the same time."

"It's a real blessing when the community comes together like this."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Compared to Others, Your Douglass Website is Unique!


On this Thanksgiving holiday, I would like to thank you for continuing to visit the Douglass website to get news, information, and pictures about what's happening in our Riverview community.

Facebook has its place and it's good to quick-connect with friends and family, but remember that your Douglass website always goes much further with stories and pictures and information about Douglass and the Riverview neighborhood. We have a lot of range on the website. Unlike Facebook, stories and pictures on the website will always be there, and it's as easy as checking in on current events, or going to Google or Yahoo and putting in a keyword in the search bar to see a previous story.

At the website, we also pride ourselves on being able to spread the good news about our community to the rest of Kingsport, the Tri-Cities region, and indeed through the internet, the rest of the U-S and the world. Indeed, the world is reading about Riverview through the website. I constantly hear from people in Kingsport and the surrounding community, from black and white neighborhoods in America, and then far away, even in foreign countries who admire our small neighborhood and the Riverview residents for sticking together as a family and as a community. I am proud to help spread the word!

In this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the Lord's Blessings, health, family, friends, and a neighborhood of familiar faces, events and places that renews the spirit constantly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blake Leeper to be Kingsport Christmas Parade Grand Marshal


From staff reports

KINGSPORT — Paralympian Blake Leeper has been selected to serve as the grand marshal for the 70th annual Kingsport Christmas Parade, the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday.

This accolade is annually bestowed upon individuals who have a substantial impact on the greater Kingsport community.

“Blake Leeper epitomizes the very best our community has to offer — resilience, tenacity and positivity,” said Etta Clark, Kingsport Chamber chair and Eastman vice president of communications and public affairs.

A Kingsport native, Leeper is a Dobyns-Bennett alumnus and graduated from the University of Tennessee. While at Dobyns-Bennett he played baseball and basketball. Leeper now lives in Chula Vista, California.

Leeper was born without legs below the knee. He has been using prosthetics since age 9.

He’s competed in numerous events, including Endeavor Games, the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships and the 2012 Paralympics in London, earning two medals. Leeper chose track and field as his sport of choice because he loves to run and enjoys competing in a sport that is extremely intense and competitive.

“We are so very proud of Blake and all he has accomplished, and thought that being our grand marshal would be a great way to honor him and all that he means to us in Kingsport,” said Clark.

The Kingsport Christmas Parade will take place Saturday beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Main Street and will wind its way through downtown Kingsport.

Santa Claus will once again be the highlight of the parade. Santa will board the last fire engine in the parade upon his return from the Santa Train journey. The Santa Train will arrive at the Kingsport Chamber at 3:08 p.m.

Thompson Square will perform outside Cumberland Marketing, 151 E. Main St., at 3:08 p.m. Roads will be blocked off starting around 12:30 p.m. for the parade.

The Santa Train is an annual project of CSX Transportation, Food City, Dignity U Wear and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

The train delivers more than 15 tons of gifts and toys to thousands along the 110-mile route between Shelby, Ky., and Kingsport.

The Santa Train began as a way to show appreciation to residents of Southwest Virginia and Southeastern Kentucky for shopping in Kingsport.

The Kingsport Christmas Parade will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. Saturday on MY TRICITIES, WAPK and will be replayed at 1 p.m. Sunday on ABC 19-WKPT.

For more information go to . For updates about the Santa Train, visit and follow @TheSanta-Train on Twitter.

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting Set for Saturday


Dear Board Members,

We have a meeting scheduled for this Saturday, November, 17, 2012. The meeting starts at 1:00 in the Eastman Board Room.

Please try to be there. The Christmas parade starts at 3:00 so lets be on time so those that wish to go to the parade will have time to do so.

See you all on Saturday.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blake Leeper speaking at MeadowView

• KINGSPORT — Kingsport native and Dobyns-Bennett High School graduate Blake Leeper will be the keynote speaker at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 22, at MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center. “An Evening with Blake Leeper” is being hosted by Leeper’s family.

Leeper competed in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London earlier this year, earning a silver medal in the 400-meter dash and a bronze in the 200-meter competition. Leeper will be presented the key to the city during the event.

Tickets, which include dinner, are $40 per person. Tickets for company-sponsored tables of 10 are $350 per table.

Proceeds will benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation. For more information, or to order tickets, call Mollie Miller at (423) 329-3453, Tonia Leeper at (423) 967-1016 or Johnnie Mae Swagerty at (423) 429-7553 or send an e-mail to or,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

If You're Going to, Or Want to Hear the DB-Maryville Playoff Game.....


PLAYOFF TICKET ALERT.....DB vs Maryville football tickets will be available for purchase ($8) in the Dobyns-Bennett Activities Office from 8-3 this Wednesday and Thursday. The game is being played in Maryville, TN south of Knoxville.

Latest update: Tickets will be for sell beginning Wed morning at 8 am till 3 pm, if we do not sell out, they will also be available on Thursday at the DB activities office inside the dome.

The game will be on the radio 94.3, and also will be shown LIVE on WAPK-TV, both in Kingsport. That will be channels: 6 Charter Kingsport, 15 Comcast JC, and 36 Dish.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cleek's Corn Maze: "Will It Go 'Round in Circles?"


Surely, every Douglass alumni and Riverview resident remembers "Will It Go 'Round in Circles?", the '70's-era danceable, singable, odd-sounding pop song by singer Billy Preston. It rose to the Number One spot on Billboard's Top 100 for two weeks back in 1973.

Will It Go 'Round in Circles? Was Preston singing back in the '70's about the New Vision Youth's trip through Cleek's Corn Maze, on Saturday, October 27, 2012, 40 years into the future?

Just sample this bit of conversation among the Youth boys that Saturday afternoon:

"We lost."

"Yeah, we lost."

"You got us lost."

"No I didn't."

"Yeah you did.. you said 'go that away."

"It was a happy day at the Corn Maze," says New Vision Director Johnny Mae Swagerty. "We even had 12 chaperones along with the kids and basically, they got led around by the kids. It was a blast.. one of the best times the kids had this year."

43 New Vision kids and other children from around the Kingsport community, ran, jumped, shouted, yelled, and simply enjoyed.. simply getting lost.


Created with flickr slideshow.

...And the beat goes on...

"Miss Johnnie Mae... the guide says go this way."

"No.. out is over here."

"Whose Number 4? Which way do we go, Number 4?"

"This way, Mr. Spud.. this way."

"Wait a minute.. we just went that way. It was a dead-end, remember."

"Here, over here. This is the way out."

"Oh yeah... we lost again."

"Yeah, we are lost," says chaperone Lawrence Myrick, a.k.a. 'Spud.' "The corn maze was great and the kids are having a really good time.. but lost. I let the kids pick the way, and I numbered them to give everybody a chance to lead. I let them pick the clues to get out, and we still got hopelessly lost."

"For a while, the way they were leading us, I thought we were gonna come out in Bristol."

The New Vision Kids' visit to the Corn Maze, grown every year at Cleek's Farm off Highway 11-W past John B. Dennis Bypass, was sponsored by New Vision Youth, APAX Medical, the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, and Kingsport Parks and Recreation's Community Services Division. They also got to eat homegrown food native to a farm, purchase farm souvenirs, go on a hayride, and spend quality time down on the farm..

..lost in the Corn Maze:

"OK, wait a minute, who's Number 5? It's your turn."

"Wait a minute, he's Number 5. Number 5, lead the way."

'Uh oh... we lost again."

"Number 6.. you're up."

"Get us outta here."


Gents to Gentlemen: "Struttin' their Stuff in 2012"

The Gents to Gentlemen Pageant is getting bigger and folks say, better.

The annual pageant was held on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.

"We had 13 contestants this year," says Johnnie Mae Swagerty, whose group New Vision Youth co-sponsors the event with Taylor Insurance and Kingsport Parks and Recreation, Community Services Division. "The contestants were dressed in tuxes, some of them, in suits and casual wear. They were just nice, fresh, handsome men and the crowd loved them."


"It was a good event for New Vision," she says, "because the kids get to meet new people like Dylan (Prater), a contestant and student from Daniel Boone High School. "He got to meet and socialize with New Vision's Tyrick Hale and Brandon Pruitt from the Riverview community. It's good for everybody to fellowship with others."

Your host this year was B.T., and the gospel group Witness sang for the audience. Soloist Donte Lewis wowed the crowd with a couple of songs during the intermissions. A moment of silence was also held for former emcee Xavier (Tim) Hall, who passed away back in March. "We truly miss him, because he always hosted our pageants, talent shows and community events. The pageant this year is dedicated in his honor.

Proceeds from this year's event go to Big Brothers-Big Sisters, the Lamplight Theater, and the Kingsport Senior Citizens Center. Next year, Swagerty plans to wrap the pageant into the United Way's fundraising event. "We'll have a Mr. and Miss United Way in September, when that agency starts its annual fundraising drive."

The 2012 Gents to Gentlemen contestants ranged in age from ages 18 months all the way up to 68 years old.

"Every one of them is a blessing," Swagerty says. "All of them are winners."

Winners this year were:

Birth to 4 years old: Treasan Hamler

Mr. Gent: Wyatt Peters

Mr. Gentleman: Tyrik Hale

Best Dressed: Tyrik Hale

Best Total Package: Richard Hicks

Mr. Photogenic: Timmy Menendell

Mr. Handsome: Brian Riley

Mr. Man: Brandon Pruitt

Mr. Smiles: Dillon Prater

Mr. Senior Citizen: Unome (Greg Spann)

Mr. Wiseman: Richard Hicks

Mr. Congeniality: Preston Fuller

Mr. New Vision Youth: Timmy Mendendell

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bethel's Health Fair: "Let's Have a Heart to Heart Walk"

The Bethel AME Church Missionary Society is on a mission this year.

And it's truly 'heart-warming.'

Every year during Life Member Month, the educational arm of the Missionary Society, the group picks a program that informs people, and focuses on members getting the word out about, and raising funds for, a particular program.

This year, it's heart disease and how to prevent it.

It's a subject that hits close to home for program organizer Charlene Hodge.

"This year, since I've had heart problems myself," she says, "I wanted to do something for the American Heart Association. This year, we're splitting our fundraiser with the Mission Overseas missionaries, and the Heart Association."

You have to walk, to get the emphasis on how to prevent heart disease.

Created with flickr slideshow.

"Walking is good for everything," says Hodge. "It's good for your heart, good for your joints, body and even emotional stress. Walking relieves a lot of stress. People need to be educated about the importance of preventing heart disease."

Hodge speaks from experience.

"I had what I thought was bronchitis," she says. "I went from the doctor to the hospital where they did some tests. All of a sudden, the doctor came into the room and told me I had congestive heart failure. First thing I said was, 'what are you talking about?' I'd been having problems breathing, but I never considered that it was because of a heart problem."

She says, education is the key.

"With the walk, we're trying to get the word out that walking is important, and so is health education. Walkers got packets with all kinds of information about heart issues, how to prevent them and how to deal with them."

The Bethel Missionary Society's efforts have benefited other agencies as well.

"The first year, we did it for Susan G. Komen," says Hodge. "We educated people about breast cancer, how to detect it, how to self-examine yourself, how to get check-ups, and how to do deal with it if you find something. We also made a donation to the Race for the Cure."

Last year, the local Alzheimers Association benefited from the society's attention, "in memory of two of our church members, Mrs. Imogene Hankins and Mrs. Eula Leeper," Hodge says.

This year's Heart Walk went hand in hand with Martha Harper and her Health Fair at Bethel.

"People just need to be educated on preventive health," Hodge says.