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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hazel W. Ervin Passing

On July 23, 2008, HAZEL W. ERVIN of Columbia, Maryland, beloved wife of the late Lawrence A. Ervin, Sr. of Kingsport (son of Inez and Alfonso Ervin of Kingsport), loving mother of the late Pamela L. Amaro, Lawrence A. Ervin, Jr. and wife Michele, Kelly S. Ervin, also surviving her grandchildren, Christina M. Amaro, Lawrence A. Ervin, III, Christopher T. Ervin, great-granddaughter, Rosana M. Amaro, daughter-in law, Cheryl L. Amaro and son-in-law, Robert Amaro and a host of other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 30th at 7:00 p.m. at St. John Baptist Church, 8910 Old Annapolis Road/Route 108, Columbia, MD 21045. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 North Lauderdale, Memphis, TN 38105. Services entrusted to Witzke Funeral Home, Inc. Columbia, MD

Dusting Party: Getting The Douglass Schoolbooks Ready For Sale!

Nobody ever thought they'd ever see their old school books again.

It makes sense.. you graduate a grade in elementary school, and move on up to the next grade. What good would your old school textbook do you?

"It's the history behind the books," says a former Douglass School alumnus. "Those basic school books taught us about life.. our teachers helped us interpret them."

And those books are not lost to the ages.


Several members of the Douglass Alumni Board of Directors gathered to dust off many of the old books, getting them ready for the first Douglass Book Fair, to be held the weekend of Friday and Saturday, August 8 & 9, 2008. No book will be sold for over $1.00, and most are in good condition. Proceeds will go to the Douglass Alumni Association General Fund, to support programs and expenses of the association.

Many familiar school books, from 1st grade, on up to the 12th, were discovered in the second floor lockers of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Community Center, formerly the Douglass Elementary-High School building on Louis Street in Kingsport. The books, which were packed away in the lockers because building custodians did not know what to do with them when Douglass closed in 1966, were caked with 42 years of dust.

Caked.. but not BAKED.

Board members Andra Watterson, Dawnella Ellis, Kathy Evans, Louetta Hall, Ozine Bly, and Lonnie Cox dusted and polished each book as best as possible, moving from box to box. There are English books, Poetry and Prose, health, science, French, social studies, geography, geometry, math, arithmetic, spelling, U.S. history.. you name it, the class is represented.

What makes the books so valuable, is one other item in them.. the name of the former student or students who used it. Thanks to Dawnella, many of the books are now catalogued by a list of some of the names in the books and the type of book it is, some of them including messages, that made the school unique to that particular person. Unfortunately, some of the students are now deceased, but they might hold significance to survivors. If your name is listed below, we have your or your loved one's school book (THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL LIST):


William McMiller, Shirley Lollar, Larry Bowditch, Charles Green, Horace Thomas, Michael Lee, William Neal, Betty Jo Smith, William Adams, Hope Davis, Isaish Daniels, Pauletta Crockett, Betsy Ann Summers, David Cash, Irene Maxwell, Martha Clark, Linda Maxwell, Mary Ellen Cox, Phyllis Young, Lewellyn Jarecka, James Leeper, Leroy Marble, Charles Lollar.


Regina Bond, Isaish Daniels, Horace Thomas, Hope Davis, Glenda Deadrick, Ann Cole, Carlos Morrison, Butch Foster, Loretta Williams, Ronald Ruffin.


Leon Simpson, Sylvester Huff, Lucious Stewart, Linda Miller, Lillian Underwood, Naomi Vinson, John Scroggins, Shirley Lollar, Mary Ellen Cox, Marie Simpson, Velma Grissom, James William Treece, Eddie Jackson, Ruben Adams, Elizabeth Maxwell, Irene Simpson, Ray Horton Jr., Horace Thomas, Shirley Ann Lynch. Raymond Releford.


Frank Horton Jr, Samuel Grinnell Stokely, William Gray, Kernes Jenkins, Yvonne Reese, Andra Watterson, Betty Turner, David Spears, Ruth Vinson, Deborah Delaney, Geneva Ross, Donald Perry.


Loftus Smith, Robert C. Deering, William Gray, David Releford, Ronnie Releford, Ray Horton Jr., Charlotte Young, John Delaney, James Miller, Jimmy Young


Walter Turner, Annie Jeffers, Kathy Norwood, George Smith, Shelia Pierce.


Vera Stokely, John Earl Sensabaugh, Veronica Pierce.

Some of the books have messages in them, too. "Linda Eller Loves Butch Foster very much & won't admit it," "This book belows to Mack Ellis, not Alvin."

More names will be added soon.

Again, THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL LIST of the names and personal writings in the books.

Again, the first Douglass School Book Fair will be Friday and Saturday, August 8 & 9, 2008 in the Douglass Ball Field and the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Community Center, during the CBS Youth Explosion Concert. No book will be priced over $1.00, and first-come, first-served. Reservations can be made for each book, but arrangements to get them is at the buyer's discretion.

Please support your Douglass Alumni Association in this historic endeavor, as we strive to keep the name of our fellow school alumni alive, and we put some still-vital school books back in the hands of the students and family who learned the skills of life from them.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"A Celebration of Praise" Praise Dancers Win Over Souls For The Lord

Any time is a good time to sing the Praises of the Lord!"

That was the theme of "A Celebration of Praise," held in the auditorium of the Kingsport Renaissance Center on Saturday, July 26, 2008.


The event was sponsored by Kingsport's Full Gospel Mission Church, as a fundraiser, and some of the Tri-Cities' best Praise Dancers performed in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

"Even though it's a fund raiser, events like this are good for the community," says event organizer Johnnie Mae Swagerty. "It brings people out in fellowship, folks from Kingsport, Johnson City, Greeneville, Bristol, Gate City and points in between."

There's also a human side to the fund-raising, too.

"All church congregations have a history of helping each other in times of need," says Johnnie Mae. "We're raising money to repair the driveway in back of our church. The asphalt has just come up, and we're trying to put concrete down.

The dumpster man keeps pushing it up and back every time the container is emptied, so we're raising money for pay for a "concrete" repair. We're also wanting to work on our 'Kitchen of Hope,' too. We have people in wheelchairs that come down to the Soup Kitchen, and we want to fix that up to better serve them."

The Praise Dancers in concert were crowd favorites. Sould Out from Greeneville, Tennessee, led by Angelia Rodriguez.. New Vision Youth Kids from Kingsport, led by Johnnie Mae.. P-O-G (Princesses of God) from Johnson City, led by Danielle Issacs.. Anointed, led by Kay Thorpe.. Destiny Diamonds, the grandchildren of Letitia Hayes.. and Angela Rodriguez of Greeneville, who also served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Mr. William Tarter provided the musical direction for the program.

There were also door prizes given away to lucky visitors.

One of the highlights of the program, was a fashion show. "We have five ladies from four different churches, that came out in their best wear," says Johnnie Mae, who was also one of the models. "We had four-year-old Layla Welch, the granddaughter of Letitia and Edward Hayes model sportwear for us." Also, Olivia Swafford of Full Gospel Mission #1.. Cheyenne Hayes of Nashville, she's with Destiny Diamonds, one of the Praise Dancer groups, and Mrs. Fulgram from Full Gospel Mission Church #2 modeled the latest fashions, and the audience loved them.

The Kingsport community is fast developing an appreciation for the art of Praise Dancing. It's an art form that actually dates back to medieval times, when the Children of God, performed dances to show appreciation to the Lord.

"We just want everybody to keep uplifting us," says Johnnie Mae. "He will see us through with whatever our needs are. We ask the Lord's Blessings on us and supporting us, esepcially all the youth and the churches that are represented here."

"This kind of event lets everybody know that we are doing something in Kingsport to lift up the Name of the Lord."

"We're just putting together a good time for the Lord."

50th Year of Bond-Pierce Reunions

Two families in Kingsport's history.. linked by a single marriage in 1958.

When Virginia Bond (she was the only girl among 5 brothers) married Alfred Bond (he was one of 12 children) 50 years ago in Sullivan County, Tennessee, little did they know they were beginning the legacy of the Bond-Pierce families, and their descendants.


Relatives of two of Riverview's biggest families, are celebrating 50 years of heritage, as the Bond-Pierce families got together at the Higher Ground Life Center in Lynn Garden, to re-live the memories and the good times that have held them together for so long.

"It's important to have reunions," says Chynet Bond, the event organizer. "It promotes the heritage of the family line. You never know, somebody could be here today, then gone tomorrow. We've already had that, even this year."

"When our families get together, we have a ball, just like we did during the Riverview days," says Chynet. "Everybody looks forward to the reunions, and that goes double for me. Whenever the time gets close, I start getting excited, and whenever the families leave, I get sad."

"Every year, there is somebody new that finds out they are related somehow to the Bond-Pierce lineage," she says. "This year alone, we've had two new families who did some digging into their ancestry and discovered their connection. They've never been to the reunions, never knew we were having them and they are thrilled once they contact us or we contact them and verify who's related to whom, and who their mama or daddy's relatives are. Next thing you know, there's another family relative that we or they didn't know about."

This year, special tributes were made to the Jerome Pierce side of the family, the Jack Pierce side (especially the old home place at the foot of Bays Mountain in Horse Creek country--one speaker mentioned that at least 20 acres of the old home place is now part of the Bays Mountain Park system), and the Oscar Bond side. But the special tributes did not stop there.

On this 50th anniversary of the Bond Family and the Pierce Family celebration, accolades came from near and far. Resolutions were read from House Majority Leader Ron Ramsey, State Senator Nathan Vaughn, and Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, who proclaimed Sunday, July 27, 2008 as "Bond-Pierce Family" day in Kingsport.

"This day is all about history," says Mayor Phillips. "It's almost unbelievable this day and time when families can hold on togetherness so close. I want to commend the Bond Family and the Pierce Family for holding them together for 50 years. The fact that families that may be different, can still all gather as one is wonderful. We all have a lot in common.. and we're together on many things more than we think. This kind of event is not just a social event, it's all about rekindling family friendships and relationships. When you get right down to it, that's what life is all about."

Mayor Phillips continued "this reunion celebration reminds me a lot of the family spirit that Riverview has had for so many, many years. When I was growing up, I ate supper whereever I happened to be at the time, and usually that was not at home. My home community in North Carolina was a lot like Riverview.. you didn't have to worry about your children.. if you wanted to go somewhere, you just walked there. If your kid wasn't home at 8 o'clock you didn't worry or panic because you knew the other folks in the neighborhood were looking out for them. This reunion gets back to the roots of the family, and that is the roots of the Riverview Community."

Chynet Bond echoed the mayor's sentiments.

"Whenever there is something wrong in the family," she says, "we all rally together to help that family member get through it. Whenever there is a problem, everybody has a problem. Everybody pulls together and see what needs to be done to help. Not just in our family, in Riverivew we did the same thing."

Marquis Lyons, the 50th Reunion Misstress of Ceremonies, related the origins of the family. "The first reunion," she reminded everybody, "was held 50 years ago in the backyard of 1018 East Sevier Avenue. The first attendants there were Virginia Bond, Oscar Bond, Patton Pierce, Regina, Rosalee and Chynet. Later, various friends and family joined in and the boys cook the meals. On the menu was homemade ice cream, apple cobbler, strawberry cream pie and apple pie. It was years before we had to charge 25 dollars to help in the food expenses. As the reunions got bigger, everybody was asked to bring a covered dish, and everybody notified their families to attend. Some of the reunion locations were the Elks Lodge, the Masonic Hall, Shiloh Baptist Church."

Elsewhere on the program, after Adrian Bond's invocation, a special welcome was given to the group by Syahna, Anauja and Tionne. Jack Pierce introduced a special presentation from Fred Hilton, Ray Willis and Mary Lee Watterson. Janice Bowditch hosted the Reunion's Fashion Show. Tony Bond and Sharon Riley gave tributes to the family. Sharon Dabney performed an inspiration Praise Dance, followed by the Family Memorial from Janice Bowditch. After remarks from Ruth Coley, Elder Carolyn Smith did the Benediction.

Congratulations and best wishes to all members of the Bond Family and the Pierce Family.. 50 years of reunions is a wonderful accomplishment, and a tribute to the spirit of togetherness!

Back To School Fun Time in Riverview!

Kingsport parents have a lot on their minds, with school getting ready to start up on August 4th, 2008 (mark your calendars).

One thing they may not have to worry about, is where a lot of the school supplies are coming from. They were able to get them this past Saturday, at the "Back To School" Celebration, held at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Community Center.


"Going back to school is very expensive," says coordinator Jeannie Hodges. The "Back To School" Celebration has been held every year for the past 7 or 8, and Jeannie has been coordinator for the past three.

"We feel like if we can just help them along with their shopping, maybe provide them some needed items for free," she says, "they can stretch their dollars further."

Toward that end, the Target Store in Kingsport donated many items necessary to school work. Target is a first-time exhibitor at the Celebration. The store also sponsored several gift certificates for parents, and toys given away as door prizes.

And we can't leave out the kids.. parents who brought their children got a chance to register them for school, and once that formality was finished, it was time for fun!

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Department sent its "Dream Team" and their Drug Education Car. It's a souped-up Pontiac Firebird with anti-drug messages all over it, that immediately got the kids' attention, especially the boys. Sheriff's Department personnel also did free fingerprinting for identification for the parents.

From East Tennessee State University, Dr. Dorothea Dobbins had information on the medical school there, and she photographed the kids in doctor's coats and nurse's smocks for those interested in careers in the medical field.

The New Vision Youth Kids had free face-painting, and no child could resist that. The Riverview Boys and Girls Club had neighborhood kids signing up, and their parents were learning about the club's new home--the old sanctuary of the Central Baptist Church on Carver Street (see the previous story in this column on the new club location). Headstart also provided parents with information that new and existing students can use, especially since their headstart location will undergo some big changes when the V.O. Dobbins Community Center/Douglass School building is renovated beginning in late fall. The Kingsport Library is also a first-time exhibitor at the Celebration, interesting the children in the area of reading books.

Amongst all the fun activities, at one point, some kids who had gotten bubble-blowing vials at one of the exhibits, discovered the fans on the floor, put there to circulate air in the gymnasium. If you put your bubble-maker in the solution, then hold that up to the rotating fan, it'll blow out what seems like MILLIONS of bubbles. Not only were the kids enjoying that, but several parents got into the act, too.. at this event, EVERYBODY gets to be a kid!

"It's good for the neighborhood to get together as a community," says Jeannie Hodges. "Community events always bring out the best in people, gives them purpose. What better way to involve a very active community than with school, and especially in the Dobbins Center. The old Douglass School was all about learning. This past Saturday, any questions about the upcoming school year got answered, the city school system got a look at some of their students and their interests, and all the community agencies got a chance to relay good information and updates about their programs."

The "Back To School Celebration" was sponsored by the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, and Kingsport Weed & Seed, both non-profit organizations.

Jamarion Horton Services

KINGSPORT — Jamarion H. Horton, 4 years old, departed this life by accident on Tuesday (July 22, 2008).
Jamarion was a very smart young man, he loved the outdoors and loved to ride his bike. He got along with everyone and had lots of friends young and old.
Survivors include father, Mr. Roberto M. Horton and mother Ms. Chardonnay S. Carpenter; brother, Zy'Draus J. Horton; sister, Ny'Zareyah Horton; grandparents, Mr. Robert (Margaret) Bogus; grandmothers, Ms. Lillian Horton, and Ms. Elizabeth Skaggs; great-grandmother Mrs. Peggy Horton; several nieces, nephews and a special cousin, I'Shawn Graves.
Services will be conducted Tuesday at 11 a.m. from the Shiloh Baptist Church with Rev. Dr. Kenneth Calvert officiating.
The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. prior to the services.
Interment will follow at Holston View Cemetery, Weber City, Va .
Online condolences may be sent to the family at
Jamarion H. Horton and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service Inc.(423) 245-4971.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pierce, Bond Families Holding 50th Reunion




KINGSPORT — Once again, members of the Pierce and Bond families will travel to Kingsport from as far away as California, New Jersey and Texas to take part in their annual family reunion.
The families, which are made up of doctors, lawyers, nurses and even a concert pianist, converge on their grandmother’s old house at 1018 E. Sevier Ave. in Kingsport each year to take part in the weekend of family fellowship.
This time, however, things are a little different, as 2008 marks the 50th year of the Bond-Pierce Family Reunion’s existence, family member and reunion host Chinette Bond said.
“I think it’s been successful because of the fact our family is close and because of the love that we have for each other,” she said. “Everybody wants to get together every year. We talked about going to every other year, but they said ‘No, we want it every year.’ ”
The reunion, which began Friday afternoon, runs through Sunday. On Friday, the family visited Bays Mountain before going on a picnic. Today they will have a family dinner at Higher Ground Baptist Church’s Life Center on Lynn Garden Drive. Sunday the family will attend a church service at Shiloh Baptist Church on East Sevier Avenue.
Proclamations were also given to the families by Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, recognizing the families for being a cornerstone of the community.
Although family is the weekend’s major focus, Bond family member Larry Bowditch, a native of Kingsport living in Texas, said the food is one of the main draws of the weekend.
“All of our parents made sure we knew how to cook,” he said. “The stuff we learned was always unique, so we have a lot of family recipes we’re known for and that everybody enjoys.”
According to Betty Dickens, a member of the Bond family from New Jersey, the reunion got its start in 1958 at the same house they meet at today.
Since that time, attendance has grown from 25 family members a year to an average of 75. The reunion mostly centers around family members catching up on old times, but it also give them a chance to meet new members they never knew existed.
“We have cousins we haven’t seen in a long time, and we have a cousin from Ohio coming that we had never met before,” Dickens said. “Last year, we brought a niece into the family we didn’t know we had, so we’re growing, growing, growing.”

KPD Rules Boy’s Death Outside Lee Apartments Was An Accident

Four-year-old Jamarion H. Carpenter died Tuesday as a result of being struck by a pickup truck driven by a KHRA employee.



KINGSPORT — Investigators have determined that the death of 4-year-old Jamarion H. Carpenter was an accident, according to a Kingsport Police Department press release issued Friday afternoon.

Jamarion died Tuesday afternoon as a result of being struck by a Ford F350 pickup truck driven by Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority employee John H. Marshall, 48, while he was riding his bicycle in the grassy courtyard of Lee Apartments on Dale Street.
KPD Lt. Jerry Robinson said Friday that footage acquired from four nearby surveillance cameras showed the cameras were turned in other directions at the time of Tuesday’s incident. Without video to show them how the tragedy unfolded, the investigation relied on witness statements and physical evidence taken from the scene, Robinson said.
The investigative file will be forwarded to the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office for a final review, Robinson said.
KHRA Director Terry Cunningham said Friday that Marshall will remain on administrative leave at least until District Attorney Greeley Wells makes a decision regarding whether any charges will be filed in the case.
Frontier Health had counselors at the scene Wednesday working with Jamarion’s family and friends and Jamarion’s playmates — some of whom actually witnessed the accident.
“(Jamarion) was just being a kid out here riding his bike and a truck came through here. It had no business coming through here at that size. He wasn’t looking and he ran my baby over,” Jamarion’s mother, Chardonnay Carpenter, said Wednesday of her son’s death.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Zulu Connection: Kingsport Children Connect To Their Past

"What did you do this summer?"

Some children with Kingsport's Parks and Recreation Department will have an interesting story to tell, if they get asked that question.

Their answer will be: "I learned that Africa is a different place than what I've seen on TV."


Thanks to the Zulu Connection's demonstration at the V.O. Dobbins Center on July 14, 29\008, Parks and Rec children learned there's more to the continent of Africa, including that very consideration.. is Africa a country, or a continent.

The Zulu Connection is a program that highlights many aspects of African Life. It is performed by the Zulu Family from New Orleans: Shaka Zulu, his wife Naimah, 10-year-old daughter Sarauniya, and a host of other performers.

Children were treated to native drum rhythms, and how intricate they can be. The polyrhythmic movement between countries in Africa have an almost hypnotic effect on the native tribes in Africa, and it was easy to see how the children got wrapped in into the rhythms. Most of the children adapted the drum sounds to their modern-day music sounds, and the results were very effective. Some of the kids even got to beat on the drums in a cadence.. many of them learned very quickly.

"We like to give the children a more positive perspective about the things Africa has to offer," says Mrs. Zulu. "Usually, when we ask kids what they think when they hear the word 'Africa,' they think 'starvation,' 'poor,' 'no clothing,' 'war,' things like that. We have to let them know that especially on the clothing part, that Africans are some of the best-dressed people in the world."

"And not everybody in Africa is starving," she says. "We have people starving in America. We have people starving all over the world, not just in Africa. I'm not trying to minimize the impact, but the images of starving children is just something else you see on TV."

"Africa has its Gold Coast, where all the world's gold comes out of," says Mrs. Zulu. "Diamonds are coming out of Africa, bauxite.. all the minerals needed to make elevators, to make computer chips, cellphones, what-have-you.. a lot of those minerals come out of Africa, so we'd like for the children to know that Africa is not just sitting there. The world needs Africa."

Since 1996, the Zulu Connection has done African demonstrations all over the world, in China, Germany, and Switzerland, to name just a few countries. The Zulu Family were in Kingsport at the V.O. Dobbins Center, courtesy of the recent Kignsport Fun Fest 2008. Their visit was sponsored by the Kingsport Arts Council, the Southern Arts Federation, and the Eastman Chemical Company.

And what does the family want the kids to take away from the demonstrations?

"We want them to be open-minded, and not to close in and just think of America and that's it," says Mrs. Zulu. "Be worldly, be more sophisticated. For the African-American children, appreciate where they come from, their ancestry and heritage, and for the white children, appreciate who they hang out with, their friends. Appreciate everyone's culture, and know that no culture is better than another person's culture.. it's just different."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Upcoming Bond-Pierce Reunion

One of Riverview's biggest families, is gathering for its golden year Family Reunion.

The Bond-Pierce Family, will gather this coming Saturday, for the every-year get-together, this time, celebrating 50 years of existance.

At least 160-170 members of the Bond Family and the Pierce Family are expected this Saturday at 4 PM, at the Lifeline Center in Lynn Garden, right behind the Higher Ground Church.

Proclamations from Kingsport's Mayor, Tennessee's Governor, and House Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville will also be read at the gathering.

The Bond-Pierce Family Reunion always brings in folks from many states, among them California, Washington D.C, Texas, New Jersey, and Florida, plus Riverview in Kingsport. Chynet Bond says, new family members are being discovered all the time, and this reunion is no exception.. a new cousin has been found in Ohio, who had no idea of the family relationship he shares with the Riverview folks. He'll also be there.

KHRA Maintenance Worker On Leave Pending Outcome Of Investigation



KINGSPORT — A Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority maintenance worker is on leave pending an investigation into a Tuesday afternoon vehicle accident that killed a 4-year-old child.
According to the Kingsport Police Department, Jamarion H. Carpenter suffered fatal injuries when he was struck by a truck while riding a bicycle in the courtyard of Lee Apartments.
Jamarion lived in Apartment 71 with his mother, KHRA officials said.
Police identified the driver of the 2008 Ford F350 as KHRA maintenance worker John H. Marshall, 48, of Kingsport.
Terry Cunningham, executive director of the KHRA, said Marshall, a 17-year employee of the authority, has been placed on leave pending an investigation into the incident.
“We’re deeply saddened over the passing of Jamarion Carpenter, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Cunningham said, noting this was the first time such an incident had occurred at Lee Apartments. “It’s a terrible accident, and I can’t say enough about how concerned we are for the family.”
Cunningham said the KHRA contacted Holston Counseling representatives who were at Lee Apartments on Wednesday to provide services to anyone who is in need of counseling over the incident.
The KHRA is waiting for Kingsport police to issue a report on the incident before seeing what action should be taken. Cunningham said he has asked all KHRA employees to be careful in the operation of their vehicles.
“Not knowing exactly what occurred, we’re not sure what to react to, and that’s going to be part of our investigation and follow-up,” Cunningham said. “We’re not sure what happened, so it’s difficult to say what to do.”
Kingsport police said Marshall was driving through the grounds about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday after dropping off some boxes in storage when the incident occurred. The incident took place in a courtyard area of the complex, where residents congregate, children play and ride their bikes, and people walk.
Cunningham said sometimes it is necessary for KHRA employees to drive their vehicles up on the sidewalk or in the courtyard area in the course of doing various maintenance activities.
“That will be something we’ll be looking into — what was the reason for him being where he was at,” he said. “The incident is under investigation, and we’re still gathering information, and we’re just not in a position to comment on very much until we have the information.”

Playmates Receive Counseling As KPD Investigates Child’s Death

‘Helping one another’

Witness statements and physical evidence at the scene indicate that Jamarion was struck once by the pickup truck’s right rear tire as the vehicle was moving forward.



KINGSPORT — As Kingsport police continued Wednesday to investigate the death of Jamarion Carpenter, several of the much loved 4-year-old’s grieving playmates attended crisis counseling provided by Frontier Health.
Kingsport Police Department Lt. Jerry Robinson said Wednesday afternoon that investigators were still in the process of retrieving footage from four surveillance cameras near where Jamarion was struck and killed Tuesday afternoon by an F350 pickup driven by Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority employee John H. Marshall, 48.

Erica Yoon —
Family and friends gather at a memorial to Jamarion Carpenter, inset, in the courtyard at Lee Apartments on Wednesday. At center, Nadine Skaggs, Jamarion’s aunt, helps a child light a candle at the memorial as Jamarion’s mother, Chardonnay Carpenter (third from left), and others look on.

Marshall has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Robinson said witness statements thus far and physical evidence at the scene indicate that Jamarion was struck once by the truck’s right rear tire as Marshall was moving the vehicle forward. According to earlier reports, Marshall had driven up to a storage unit to unload some boxes and was driving off the grounds through the grassy courtyard.
Although there were reports of as many as 30 to 35 people on scene when police and EMS arrived, Robinson said he’s only aware of three witnesses who saw the pickup hit Jamarion on his bike — and all three are children.
Robinson said Sgt. David Moore spoke with Marshall about the incident, but Moore was unavailable to talk about it, and Robinson said he wasn’t familiar enough with what Marshall had said to make a comment.
“We are continuing to investigate as rapidly as we can. There’s just a lot of things to do, and it does take a certain amount of time,” Robinson said. “We’ve got people working on that, and we hope to have this thing wrapped up very soon.”
He couldn’t provide a time frame regarding when the investigation might be complete.


As the investigation continues, Frontier Health’s Tim Perry said counselors would be available to the Lee Apartments community over the next couple of days to help Jamarion’s family, friends and playmates cope with the t r a g e d y.
“We have talked with a number of the kids here,” Perry said. “Many of them have shared times that they played together. They’ve done some memorials. The things that they remember that they did together with him, fun times, toys that they played with together.”
“This community is helping itself and helping one another through it,” Perry said.
“(Jamarion) was just being a kid out here riding his bike, and a truck came through here. It had no business coming through here at that size. He wasn’t looking and he ran my baby over...” Jamarion’s mother, Chardonnay Carpenter, said Wednesday.
Her sister, Nadine Skaggs, said it’s not unusual for KHRA vehicles to drive through the grassy courtyard.
“There was 15 to 20 kids, all of them riding, and he just happened to be the one that got hit,” Skaggs said.
T.J. Hamler said he had just dropped his girlfriend off in the vicinity of Lee Apartments when Jamarion’s mother came running, telling him she needed to use his phone to call 911.
Hamler, who learned CPR in college, said he ran over to see if he could help and was shocked at what he saw. As many as 30 people created a chaotic scene around the truck, crowding around asking questions. Another man, Joe Beard, said some people started yelling racial slurs at the driver.
“We don’t need to ask questions, that’s not the point,” Hamler said he told the crowd. Then he turned his attention to Marshall. It seemed logical to get the huge truck off the little boy so he could breathe, Hamler said, so he began telling Marshall, “You need to move, you need to get off him now.”
“He didn’t want to listen, so I screamed at him for about five minutes telling him you got to go,” Hamler said.
“I don’t even think he realized that he had — but he had to though, because we were both standing at the back of the truck looking at the kid. Like we both, he was standing right beside of me, and we looked up under there and seen the kid’s head, that’s all you could see. You could see his legs coming out from up under the truck and his face coming out from up under the tire — the right rear tire,” Hamler added.
At some point, Hamler said Marshall did move the truck forward 5 or 6 feet.
“I thought (Jamarion) had a slight pulse. I was telling everybody else to be calm, then he took what seemed to be his last breath. He gasped, like, two times ... and I knew it wasn’t good right there. I brought his momma to the hospital and called up there a few minutes later and he was dead,” he said.
Beard said he was drawn to the chaotic scene by a friend who was afraid the boy under the truck was his own son. She had seen his son’s bike laying nearby and ran to get him, he said. Although it wasn’t his son that was injured, Beard said both his son and daughter were playing in the courtyard at the time of the incident and were among those traumatized by what they’d seen.

Erica Yoon —
As his mother, Kia Lewis, and brother Bry’kiuse Lewis, 2, watch, Bryius Lewis, 6, signs a poster at the memorial for Jamarion Carpenter at Lee Apartments on Wednesday.

About 1 p.m. Wednesday, about 24 hours after Jamarion was struck, several children could be seen standing around a small memorial talking with counselors and describing what they saw as some of them placed stuffed animals and candles by poster boards covered with words of love for Jamarion.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Truck kills 4-year-old on bicycle at Lee Apartments

Accident investigation will include review of a nearby surveillance camera’s tape.



KINGSPORT — A 4-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries Tuesday afternoon when he was struck by a truck while riding a bicycle in the courtyard of Lee Apartments on Dale Street, according to a Kingsport Police Department press release.
Police identified the boy as Jamarion H. Carpenter. The driver of the 2008 Ford F350 was identified as Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority employee John H. Marshall, 48, of Kingsport.

David Grace —
As the Rev. Kenneth Calvert leads a group in prayer in the background, Kingsport Police Department Patrolman John McGee photographs the scene of Tuesday afternoon’s fatal accident involving a 4-year-old bicycle rider in the courtyard of Lee Apartments.

Kingsport police said Marshall was driving through the grounds about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday after dropping off some boxes in storage when the incident occurred.
Jamarion was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
KPD Officer John McNew, one of two traffic reconstructionists on the scene, said shortly after the accident that the investigation would include review of a nearby surveillance camera’s tape.
If it was turned in the right direction at the time of the accident, it would show police what happened, he said. If not, the only witnesses might be the driver and a young girl who was not identified by police.
The bystanders interviewed up to that point all seemed to have come on the scene after the fact, McNew said.
The Rev. Kenneth Calvert led a group in prayer, and several people stood talking, crying and comforting each other under a nearby shade tree as police conducted their investigation. Several other small children on bicycles watched the commotion just a few feet from where the boy’s blue bike lay in the grass.
One small girl on a bike about the same size as the one Jamarion was riding appeared beside an adjacent building and wheeled toward the group. An older girl approached her and bent down to whisper to her. The younger girl’s face crumpled, and both dissolved into tears.
KPD Lt. Jerry Robinson said the incident remains under investigation by the Kingsport Traffic Unit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Daimon Coclough Passing & Arrangements

KINGSPORT — Daimon De-Priest Coclough, 55, of Kingsport, went to be with the Lord on Sunday (July 20, 2008) at Holston Valley Medical Center.

Daimon was a lifelong resident of Kingsport and Sullivan County.
He attended Douglass School and Dobyns-Bennett High School and then served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict as a paratrooper. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Parachute Badge.
He was employed by Hutchinson Sealant Corp. Daimon attended Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He loved his beloved dog, Marty.
He was preceded in death by his wife Bobbie, father, Arthur Columbus Coclough, Jr.; a brother, James Coclough; and a nephew, Arthur “Little Sonny” Coclough IV.

Surviving are his daughter, Lisa Danette and Faustino Rojas of Columbus, Ohio; three grandchildren, Antony, Alisa and Carmen; his mother, Ruth Tedford Coclough of Kingsport; five sisters, Arthurine Clark and husband, Lewis of Morristown, Linda Coclough of Kingsport, Terry Coclough of Church Hill, Regina Watterson and husband, Richard of Kingsport and Robin McClintock of Kingsport; three brothers, Arthur C. Coclough III and wife, Mary of Kingsport, Chris Coclough and wife, Barbara of Kingsport and Jarrett Coclough of Greeneville; along with several nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Visiting will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Thursday at the Carter-Trent Funeral Home, 520 Watauga Street, Kingsport. Friends may also call anytime at the home of his mother, 1029 Chippendale Road (Ridgefield), Kingsport.
Funeral services will be conducted at 12 noon in the funeral home chapel with the Rev. Donnie Wade, Minister Louis Clark, Pastor Hal Peggan and Pastor Lester Lattany officiating.
Military graveside services will follow at Mountain Home National Cemetery, Mountain Home, Tenn. conducted by the Hawkins County Color Guard and Tennessee National Guard.
Pallbearers will be members of the Hawkins County Honor Guard.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting
Carter-Trent Funeral Home, Kingsport is serving the Daimon DePriest Coclough family.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fletcher Hutcherson Jr. Passing

KINGSPORT — Mr. Fletcher Hutcherson Jr., 65, 1928 Netherland Inn Road, departed this life Wednesday (July 16, 2008) at Indian Path Medical Center after a brief illness.
Mr. Hutcherson was a lifelong citizen of Kingsport, a member of Lyons Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church and served with the church choir where he enjoyed singing. He was retired from the Eastman Chemical Company.

Preceded in death by his father and mother, Mr. Fletcher, Sr. and Mary Hutcherson; sister, Mrs. Loretta Valentine; his wife, Mrs. Linda Hutcherson.
Survivors include two sons, Mr. Curtis Hutcherson and daughter-in-law, Patricia and Mr. Aaron Hutcherson and daughter-in-law, Sissy; daughter, Angela Armstrong and son-in-law, Dana; grandchildren, Shiree, Tish, Tequis, Tanesha, Aridesia and Ariel Hutcherson; one sister, Mrs. Ora Richardson; one brother, Mr. Lawrence C. Jones; grandmother, Mrs. Beulah Banner; several stepchildren; and several great-grandchildren, Burnadette, Vickie and Delbert; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Visitation wil be from 10 a.m. Tuesday until time of services at Central Baptist Church.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church with Rev. James Snapp, officiating.
Interment will follow at Holston View Cemetery, Weber City, Virginia.
Expression of love and online condolences can be sent to
Mr. Hutcherson and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Services, Inc. 423-245-4971.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tim Hall's At It Again!

Kingsport's own, and Riverview's Finest, the LEGENDARY Tim Hall announces his next comedy engagement below!

Xavier "Tim" has performed all over the Tri-Cities.. his comedy routines "Back to Church" and "It's The Truth" are show-stoppers.

A local reviewer wrote "Tim really is one of the best Upcoming Comedians! His is a MUST-see performance."

Come on out and support one of our own!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kingsport Boys and Girls Club Has A "Central" Message


The old Central Baptist Church sanctuary, standing empty for several years, is about to get a new lease on life.

The Riverview branch of the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club has turned the old sanctuary upstairs into a haven for area children to continue their development and maturity into adulthood.

"We're excited about the new Boys and Girls Club on Stone Drive, but we're just as proud of the Riverview project," says Rhajon Smith, Director of Marketing and Research Development for the club.

Central Baptist Church services have been at home in the new, much larger and ultra modern sanctuary in back of the old church.

"When the Riverview Apartments were torn down, our satellite club also went with it," says Ms. Smith. "Our kids were coming from a pretty tough environment, and we were anxious to keep them there in the neighborhood." Right now, the Riverview Boys and Girls Club meets in temporary quarters in the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Community Center. It serves about 20 to 25 kids on a daily basis, with a total enrollment of about 60.

The new Riverview Central Boys and Girls Club is a joint partnership between Central Baptist Church, the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club, the Kingsport Housing and Recevlopment Authority and the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation.

"Our kids are special to us," she says. "They're coming from backgrounds where their parents are not be the most positive influence in their lives, and if we can bring positive volunteers, positive staff and professional people to be great mentors to them right in their own community, that's a wonderful thing to do, and what better place than in a church."

"Several agencies in the city have already contacted us about 'adopting' the Central location, planting flowers, landscaping and finishing any remaining work that needs to be done," says Ms. Smith.

Kingsport Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Chuck Owens says, he is talking on a regular basis with the elders of Central, to define the role the old church sanctuary will play in the Riverview Boys and Girls Club.

"When we looked at the old sanctuary," he says, "we marveled at the beautiful windows in the building. Our plans are to, first of all, protect those windows and preserve them in their current setting, and apply that preservation to the whole sanctuary. We want to enhance the building by protecting those structural things that are important to the neighborhood."

"If the walls of this sanctuary could talk," says Ms. Smith, "they would tell some powerful stories of faith, spiritual development and community involvement."

The new Riverview Boys and Girls Club will have computers, books and other items that highlighted the old club in the Apartments, but the extra space in the sanctuary will also allow for games and programs. The old baptismal pool area is now home to the new computer/homework area. Organization of those resources, is the responsibility of Riverview Club director Denise Sensabaugh.

"We'll have arts, crafts and projects that also emphasize homework when the kids come in after school," says Ms. Sensabaugh. "Right now, our summer program is going on at the clubs around the city, and that means swimming twice a week, field trips once a week, and video game tournaments, things like that."

The Central conversion is almost complete, with two new restrooms built on the sanctuary floor. The entrance to the building now has a handicap ramp that climbs the outside of the building in a circular pattern from the parking lot. The old padded church pews that have provided comfort during church sermons since the 60's, have been donated to a church in Rogersville.

From its humble beginnings almost 90 years ago, Central Baptist Church has always been reflective of its "central" location in Riverview, the heart of Kingsport's African-American community.

After the Riverview Boys and Girls Club moves in, the spiritual atmosphere of the historic building will continue for all children.

Greetings, New Visitors To The Kingsport-Douglass High School Website!

If you'd like to read earlier articles about Douglass High School, Riverview and South Central Kingsport, please go to the bottom of this page, and click "older posts." That always advances you back a page.

Any questions, comments or story ideas, please contact us at:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mr. Bennie Banner Passing

KINGSPORT — Mr. Bennie Lee Banner departed this earthly life Thursday (July 10, 2008) at Holston Valley Medical Center.

Born the ninth child of the late Simon Peter and Nora Banner in Avery County, N.C. on July 20, 1937, Mr. Banner attended Douglass High School in Kingsport.
Mr. Banner retired from Tennessee Eastman Company after 30 years of service.
He was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church where he sang in various choirs and was a past president of the Voices Of Peace.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Mrs. Mettie Beatrice Banner; one daughter, Ms. Pamela Hughes, Kingsport; one granddaughter, Miss Jennifer Hughes, Athens, Ga.; one grandson, Christopher Hughes, Kingsport; one great-grandson, De’Sean Hughes, Athens, Ga.; one sister, Mrs. Irene Johnson, Baltimore, Md.; and a host of other relatives and friends.
The family will receive friends from 1 p.m. til the hour of service Sunday at the Shiloh Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the church with Dr. Rev. Kenneth Calvert officiating.
Interment will follow at East Lawn Cemetery.
Expression of love and online condolences can be sent to
Mr. Bennie Lee Banner and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service, Inc., 245-4971.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Douglass-Slater & Langston Reunion Stories and Photos Are Ready!

Greetings, alumni, graduates and friends of Douglass High School Bristol, VA; Slater High School, Bristol, TN; Langston High School, Johnson City, TN; and friends and neighbors from other upper East Tennessee Tennessee schools!

I have finished the stories from the Douglass-Slater High Schools Reunion, and the Langston High School Reunion from Saturday, July 5th. The stories are now posted under the link NEWS OF OUR DOUGLASS FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, and the pictures are posted in the PHOTO GALLERY. That link is on the main page. The video of the Douglass-Slater Parade is the only thing I am waiting on, and it is downloading as we speak. When finished, you'll be able to access it on both links.

Hopefully, everybody made it back home safe and sound. Thank all of you for letting me be a part of both your wonderful reunions.

Just go back to the main page, and click on the NEWS OF OUR DOUGLASS FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS and the PHOTO GALLERY links and you'll find them there.

Calvin Sneed

Friday, July 4, 2008

Ms. Mary Kate Releford Passing

KINGSPORT — Ms. Mary Kate Releford, 76, departed this life on Wednesday (July 2, 2008) at The Wexford House.
Ms. Releford was a life-long citizen of Kingsport and a member of Central Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents Mr. Richard and Mrs. Lillie Mae Releford and one sister, Mary Releford.
Survivors include two sons, Gary Lee Releford and Michael Andre Releford; two daughters, Ms. India K. Releford & Ms. Deborah L. Releford; 13 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren; one brother, Mr. Harry Releford.
Funeral services for Ms. Releford will be conducted at the Central Baptist Church on Sunday at 4 p.m. with Rev. Billy Pearson officiating.
The family will receive friends from 3 p.m. till the hour of service.
Interment will follow at the Mitchell Crest Cemetery, Rogersville, Tenn.
Friends may call at any time at the daughter’s residences at 412 Dunbar St.
Expression of Love and online condolences can be sent to
Ms. Mary Kate Releford and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service, Inc., 423-245-4971.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Official Kingsport Fun Fest Block Parties

July 14

• Rhythm In Riverview (it's not really a block party, but you could consider it one).
3:00-6:00 pm - fun activities for the family to include blow-ups, rock wall, train rides and more. The Splash Pad will also be open. Zulu Connection (African stilt-walkers/dancers will be performing at approximately 6 pm. Victor Simon aka Vic Danger and his band, the VooDoo Doctors, will end the day with a concert. Victor is a Riverview native and a Douglass School graduate.
Food vendors will also be available.

July 25

• Cloud Apartments, hosted by Sandra Bly, noon to 3 p.m. at 1022 Reedy Place. Call 392-2506.

July 26

• Lee Family Learning, hosted by Nancy Durant, noon to 3 p.m. at 651 Dale St. Call 392-2531.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Riverview Resident Sees Midwest Flood Devastation Firsthand

It was three weeks in her life that Riverview resident Virginia Hankins won't soon forget.

"Jenny" just got back from the flooded area of Wisconsin, seeing some of the worst destruction that area has ever seen.


Jenny, a local Red Cross volunteer, has spent the past three weeks, helping water-logged residents try to get back on their feet, after rivers and streams overflowed their banks and invaded homes and businesses. Although the statewide Wisconsin Red Cross is headquartered in the state capital of Madison, Jenny spend a lot of time in Beaverdam, Wisconsin, one of the hardest-hit areas.

"There was flooding in both the farmlands and the towns and villages," Jenny says. "There was also talk of even moving one village, Days Mill, to higher ground, to better protect it from future water problems."

"We've been trying to provide for the people's needs," she says. "The most needed items were food and clothing, but the Red Cross has also provided vouchers for lodging and shelter."

One thing struck Jenny, as she talked with dozens of dazed and stunned people.

"The way the people here are self-sufficient," she says. "Many of them actually turned down help, saying they don't need it. These are a hardy people, almost as if they didn't want a hand-out. For those folks, we tried to offer a HAND-UP, so if they needed it, support would be available."

"Luckily, these folks had early warning systems in place," says Jenny. "They were able to prepare for what was coming, and try to get their families and property ready for the onslaught of water."

"The small villages in Wisconsin really pulled together," she says. "I was struck by how the people watched out for each other, in some cases, passing over help for themselves, just to make sure someone else got the help they needed more."

"Our goal was to help them assess their needs, finding out the most needy cases, and getting the help they needed, to the ones who needed it the most, in a quick, essential manner."

Welcome home, Jenny!