Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hope VI: U.S. Public Housing Overhaul Nets Uneven Gains


PITTSBURGH — Viola Sowell gazes out the clouded windows of her apartment, where tattered, ruffled kitchen curtains feebly try to divert attention from peeling linoleum, crooked cabinets and a grease-stained glass dining table.

The sounds of laughter and screeching car tires waft up through the second-floor windows, occasionally forcing Sowell to raise her voice. Exhaustion clouds her eyes, the pain and difficulty of living in poverty aging her beyond her 34 years.
Sowell’s 1940s-era barracksstyle public housing complex was demolished in 2005, and the Pittsburgh Housing Authority promised her a new town house with a dishwasher and backyard. But new rules requiring her to have a job threaten to keep her in this three-bedroom unit where a living room sofa doubles as her bed.

“That wasn’t the agreement with them. They never once said like we had to have jobs,” Sowell says, angry the rules were changed more than three years into the process.
Over the past 15 years, the Pittsburgh Housing Authority and dozens like it nationwide have spent more than $5.8 billion through the federal Hope VI program replacing crime-ridden, dilapidated, high-density housing projects with smaller mixed-income communities. The grants are complemented by private funding and loans.
Hope VI legislation approved in 1993 promised that tenants whose homes were demolished would see “an improved living environment,” which was meant to include better homes in safer neighborhoods. The acronym HOPE stands for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere.
The theory: breaking up large concentrations of poor people and providing low-income families with a higher standard of living would cut crime.
Yet in the ambitious effort to upgrade the nation’s stock of some 1.2 million public housing units, an estimated 100,000 homes have been lost and tens of thousands of the nation’s poorest continue to languish on waiting lists to receive federally subsidized housing.
Only about a third of the 149,000 or so public housing units demolished nationwide have been or will be replaced, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank in Washington.
The government has sought to compensate for that decline in part by providing more families with vouchers that provide federal subsidies to be used in the private rental market. The vouchers cover up to 30 percent of their monthly income in rent.
But housing advocates say the voucher program has been cut in recent years and many municipal housing authorities, including Pittsburgh’s, have had to freeze waiting lists.
Rules for living in the new mixed-income communities have kept many of the most vulnerable families, like the Sowells, corralled in old public housing that experts say are doomed to suffer the same problems as the worst projects that were torn down.
In Sowell’s temporary unit, two young daughters, 10 and 11, share a bedroom. Mattresses are stacked against a wall since the bed frame broke and was transformed by an industrious neighbor into a shelf for DVDs. Her 16-year-old daughter shares a bedroom with her infant son. A 15-year-old son has the other bedroom.
A stereo sits on the living room’s shabby tan carpet. A small TV set that no longer projects cable due to an unpaid $124 bill rests on a table, looking forlornly at two sofas. On the arms of one sofa are stacks of neatly folded laundry, waiting to be put away.
Sowell relies on Social Security and child support for a monthly income of $1,500 — $200 more than her paycheck from a food services job she had at a university. She others moved into public housing.”
The federal program’s failure to help the people on the lowest rung has been a fundamental flaw, Sard says, and needs to be addressed.
“For all the good that was done in getting rid of terrible housing and reducing crime, there was harm done to the original families, so I think that before we increase the funding that we need to get the policy right,” she says.
Pittsburgh Housing Authority officials acknowledge the loss of public housing but say most families are enjoying better conditions. The authority is so pleased with the results, it has raised money to build a mixed-income community without federal aid.
Bruce Katz, an architect of the Hope VI program who now works at the Brookings Institution, said his biggest disappointment is that more wasn’t done to ensure that displaced residents “had the opportunities to move to areas of low poverty with quality schools and quality jobs.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contends that nearly all the original tenants enjoy better conditions in their new homes, including those living in private rentals with vouchers or those still in traditional public housing.
But housing advocates say concentrating the poorest, including the unemployed and substance abusers, in the same housing developments makes them more vulnerable to crime and other problems and less likely to ever pull themselves out of poverty.
The best solution, they say, is to mingle the different groups, as has been done successfully in both mixed-income communities and traditional public housing in New York, Chicago and Boston.
More Hope VI mixed-income housing could be the answer for families like the Sowells, but competition for grants is fierce. Funding has been cut from $600 million a year to $100 million during the Bush administration, which advocates using more vouchers.
In January, the House approved a bill that could allocate up to $800 million for Hope VI and require a one-for-one replacement of any future housing that is demolished. The bill is now in Senate committees.
The Hope VI communities of polished brick, clapboard siding, aluminum windows, manicured lawns and swing sets are the pride of housing authorities. They say the open plans, parks and porches have kept drug dealers and violence out.
Those enjoying the new communities are largely miniwas laid off three years ago and mum-wage earners who struggle today dreams of what could be. to put food on the table. “I would have my own en- Substance abusers and unemtrance, my own yard, light and gas,” Sowell says, her eyes showing a rare glimmer.
In her old neighborhood, more than 400 apartments were demolished. The new Hope VI plan would replace 180 units.
“The families who had suffered in these severely distressed units rarely benefited from the new units,” says Barbara Sard, director of housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Some did move out of dangerous neighborhoods with vouchers, but ployed single mothers who rely on welfare, Social Security, food stamps and donations are kept out. Burdened with children, illness and other problems, they often do not have the time or the wherewithal to attend courses required to qualify for the new homes.
The courses are aimed at teaching prospective tenants everything from how to be a good neighbor to properly managing a household and keeping a job.
The idea is that if public housing tenants are taught some basics, the new communities will be cared for in the long-term, solving the urban ills that have long plagued the country’s poorest.
But even Sowell sees the unintended consequence of putting people who don’t meet requirements into old-style public housing: That will simply transfer the problem from one place to another, she says. And that means someone else will have to deal with it later.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Warning to Voters This Year!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Normally as a journalist, I try to keep politics out of the NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS section, but when Tacia Price sent this warning to me, I felt I needed to let everybody know about it --- Calvin.


Please, please, please advise everyone you know that they absolutely
can NOT go to the polls wearing any Obama (or whoever you are voting for)
shirts, pins, hats, etc.

It is AGAINST THE LAW and will be grounds to have the polling officials turn you away. This is considered campaigning and no one can campaign within a certain amount of feet of the polls.
They are banking on us being overly excited and not being aware of this long-standing law that you can bet will be ENFORCED THIS YEAR!!!!!

They are banking that if you are turned away, you will not go home and change your clothes and return to the polls to vote. Please just don't wear ANY gear of any sorts to the polls! Please share this information with as many people as you can. If you are already aware of this, or had it happen to you already, disregard this notice.

Have a great day and see you at the polls on November 4th.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Southwest Virginia Honors 23 "Sons and Daughters of the Coalfields"

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the 20th of September, 2008, friends, families and neighbors in Southwest Virginia came together to honor the first-ever inductees of the Southwest Virginia Museum "Walk of Fame."


Museum Director Sharon Ewing welcomed the inductees and their families and friends, first to a reception where folks got to know about the other "Walk of Fame" inductees. There was picture-taking, story-swapping about life in the hills, hollers and coalfields, and a great sense of "welcome back home." That feeling went from inductees even to visitors.

People of all walks of life who left the coalfields of the region and became powerful influences in their chosen professions were honored in the Walk of Fame induction ceremony. That group includes actors, politicians, authors, athletes, a famous actor, a famous major league baseball player, bluegrass musicians, country music singers and performers, physicians, scientists, military veterans, and one very famous explorer. Criteria for being on the list, is being either native-born, or having lived in southwestern Virginia for longer than 5 years.


Notable African-Americans from the Southwest Virginia region inducted into the Walk of Fame were noted author and journalist Dr. Junius Giffin, and famed major league slugger Willie Horton.

The explorer was Pennsylvania-born Daniel Boone, whose trek to Kentucky, took him into just about every county in Southwest Virginia. The other list of inductees, their accomplishments, and their Southwest Virginia place of birth/residence are:

Moran Lee "Doc" Boggs, influential singer, songwriter, banjo player (Norton)

The Carter Family, bluegrass singers (Maces Spring)

Ollan Cassell, Olympic gold medalist, Pan American medalist (Nickelsville)

John Fox, Jr., journalist, novelist, short story writer (Stoney Point, Kentucky)

Dr. Junius Griffin, newsman, journalist, Motown Public Relations (Stonega)

Helen Timmons Henderson (first woman elected to Women's House of Delegates (Missouri)

Napoleon Hill, author, novelist (Wise County)

Linwood Holton, Virginia Governor 1970-1074 (Big Stone Gap)

Willie Horton, major league baseball player, Detroit Tigers (Arno)

George C. Perry, Virginia Governor. 1934-1938 (Tazewell County)

Darrell "Shifty" Powers, WW II Paratrooper (Clinchco)

Francis Gary Powers, Cold War U-2 Pilot (Jenkins, KY-Pound, Virginia)

Glenn Roberts, basketball start, inventor of the Jump Shot (Glamorgan)

George C. Scott, actor, Oscar winner (Wise)

C. Bascom Slemp, politician, Coolidge White House advisor (Turkey Cove)

Lee Smith, author, novelist (Grundy)

Henry C. Stuart, Virginia governor, 1914-1918 (Wytheville)

The Stanley Brothers, bluegrass musicians, the Clinch Mountain Boys (Dickenson County)

Dr. William Starnes, chemist (Lee County)

Dr. Andrew Still, physician (Lee County)

Adriana Trigiani, novelist, TV show writer, comedienne (Big Stone Gap)

Don Whitehead, author, news reporter (Inman)

In some cases, the inductee was presented with a museum's statue of commemoration. In other cases where the inductee is either deceased or unable to attend, a family member or representative accepted the award on their behalf.

The group of inductees were chosen in conjunction with the museum's 60th anniversary, and were chosen as unique Southwest Virginians who have made the state, the nation and the world a better place by their works and deeds. They were nominated for the Walk of Fame by a selection committee made up of representatives from area cultural and academic institutions and regional civic organizations.

The museum itself is in an old home overlooking the town of Big Stone Gap, surrounded by mountains and traversed by the Powell River. C. Bascom Slemp, who served many years in Congress and was President Calvin Coolidge's private secretary, purchased the house in 1929. He and his sister began collecting artifacts depicting life in the area, and three years after his death in 1943, the state of Virginia took the home and turned it into the Southwest Virginia Museum State Historical Park.
The museum was officially dedicated in 1948, managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation's Division of State Parks.

After the list of 2008 inductees and their accomplishments were announced, patrons, inductees and family members went to the side of the museum where the Walk of Fame was officially dedicated. For many, it was an exciting time, as the names were seen etched in stone. For others, it was a solemn time, remembering the old days struggling for a better life outside the coalfields.

Ms. Ewing told the group at the unveiling, that the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame provides a showcase for the heritage of the area, and a means of advancing the knowledge, awareness and appreciation of great Southwest Virginians, past and present, who've made significant contributions to society.



"They represent all that is wonderful about this region," Ms. Ewing says. "They serve as inspirations to people around the world."

The Southwest Virginia Museum is a state historical park, and is located at 10 West First Street in downtown Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The Walk of Fame is available for viewing outside the building all the time, and the museum hours are Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 4 PM.. Friday 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday 1 PM to 5 PM. The museum is closed during January and February. Admission for adults is $3.00, children 6-12 $2.00 and under 6 free. The group rate with 100 people or more, is priced at $1.50 per person. Annual passes are also available.

For more information, contact the Southwest Virginia Museum State Historical Park at 1-276-523-1332, or by going to

Dr. Junius Griffin: From the Mountains to the Sea

Born on January 13th, 1929 in a coal camp of Stonega, Virginia, Junius Griffin attended the two-room Stonega School for the Colored and later Central High School in Appalachia.

At 16, Griffin graduated high school and entered Bluefield College in West Virginia. However, at 17, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp Reserves and then went into the U.S. Marine Corps. During the Korean War, he served as one of only two African American newspaper correspondents working for the U.S. Armed Forces—Stars and Stripes, eventually being named the Far East Bureau Chief.

After leaving the military, Griffin became a reporter for the Associated Press and later the New York Times. He and other African American reporters collaborated on a 13 part series on race relations called The Deepening Crisis for which Griffin was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

In the mid-1960's, Junius Griffin crossed paths with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Griffin joined the Southern Leadership Conference as public relations officer and speech writer for Dr. King. Griffin spent two years engaged in the civil rights movement, traveling everywhere with King.

When King was assassinated, Berry Gordy of Motown Records exercised his copyright authorization to publish recordings of Dr. King's speeches. He brought Griffin to Detroit to head the project that resulted in a Grammy award.

Gordy named Griffin as Director of Public Relations with Motown Records in Detroit until 1982, becoming vice-president of public relations, eventually moving to Los Angeles, where the music industry had concentrated. In his 50s, he earned his B.S. in English Literature, a M.S. in American Studies and a Ph.D. in English. After teaching in Michigan, Dr. Griffin returned home to Virginia as Emory and Henry College's Scholar in Residence until 2001.

"Life with Motown;" Dr. Junius Griffin's Son Lives From Activist to Charmed Life

"My goal in life is to get out there and tell young blacks what it takes to survive."

Those words from Linus Griffin, as he remembers his life from the coal fields of Southwest Virginia. through the troubled halls of the 60's Civil Rights era, to the hallowed halls of Motown Records. His father was famed author and newsman Dr. Junius Griffin.

Born in Stonega, Virginia just as his father was, Linus says he lived with his grandparents until he was 10. "At that point, I really didn't know my father very well and was kinda rebellious, but my grandparents instilled a love of family in me. When the coalfields went bad, my grandparents moved to Massachusetts. Later, I moved to Detroit to be with my mother, and my other relatives, the Hortons. I was able to watch my cousin Willie when he became a baseball player. I ran away back to Massachusetts to my grandparents, and I got my high school degree in Stanford, Connecticut.


"On my graduation day, my father came back into my life," Linus remembers. "He picked me and took me to Washington, D.C. where he worked as a newsman."


"He had already been associated with Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., and I was well familiar with the Civil Rights movement. We were living in the Georgetown Inn, and it was about that time that the people at Motown signed him to a contract. Here we go back to Detroit, and I was suddenly back with my family there. He later became the director of Motown Public Relations."

Linus's story takes another decidedly dramatic turn during this time as he entered collegiate life. "My dad's first secretary at Motown was Carina Ross, the sister of Diana Ross. Diana's brother "T-Bone" Ross and I went to Morehouse College in Atlanta for school, and at that time during the early 60's, had some great debates going on betwen the SCLS, the Black Panthers, and others representing the 'going back to Africa' movements. During one confrontation, I stood up and told the Morehouse Board of Trustees 'you guys are all bull-@#$%^%$'ing,' and it led to a bunch of us locking up the trustees. We had come to realize that they were not teaching the black students to be self-respectful.. we felt that they were prepping kids to the black bourgeosie, and we saw through that. Basically, they were teaching us how to be white, and how to act in a white world. Our actions were very radical and we could have done things that were very explosive, but the way Dr. King and my father had taught us, I kept myself under control."


"Morehouse kicked everybody out of school, including me and T-Bone, but they took us aside and told us if we'd just be quiet, we could come back," Linus remembers. At the time Motown was giving Morehouse about $50,000 a year. We told 'em to 'go to hell.'"

"At that time, I had made some contacts with the Black Panther Party, and a year later, T-Bone and I spent some time at the party headquarters in Seattle. I discovered that, although they were quite radical but the Panthers were also very intellectual blacks."

"I got into the University of Washington, started playing international rugby, learned how to ski, and went back to Morehouse and graduated. It was a whirlwind. Because of the civil rights stuff, Robert Johnson with Johnson Publishing wanted to do a story on me, but I refused. I was a radical, but I was radical with a mission. There were so many things in our history that were vital to our future as a society, but we were being taught the white way to go into society. I found that out at the University of Washington."


Growing up with Stevie (Wonder) was a treat," Linus remembers. "I would always make his mom bloody mary's. Stevie's brother Calvin worked in the supply room at Motown, so whenever I needed albums to send to a girlfriend, it was Stevie's brother Calvin who'd give them to me to send out. I used to live with Dennis Edwards of the Temptations, another of my good friends was Rick James. I was Linus Griffin, and I felt that what I was doing, was just an extention of what my dad was doing."

"Motown transferred my father out to Los Angeles, because that's where the music business was concentrating," says Linus. "The first time I went to LA with my dad, I lived in Diana Ross's house for a week before my family came out there," Linus remembers. "When they got to LA, first we lived in Thousand Oaks, then up on Mullholland Drive, and our house overlooked Universal Studios. Smokey Robinson's niece had the first beauty shop in Hollywood. We would go there where all the gossip was. We were a family, it was just a big Motown family and since we were all from Detroit, we had to stick together because there were a lot of fights with the Hollywood folks. We were the new kids, we were new on their turf and because of that, there was this tightness with the folks from Detroit. There weren't many blacks in Hollywood at that time, except for my dad, people like Bill Cosby. Sometimes when I would come back to the house, there would be people like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Julius Ervin, Charlie Scott, people like that, waiting for me at my dad's house. I was the man about the house."

"Right now, I'm writing a book," Linus says. "I want to give the young people an experience of what it was like growing up in the 60's. I am a product of survival, and although I have never been to jail, I have definitely been in trouble. God has really blessed me with a lot of wonderful people.. people like Mama Jill Ellis, who has helped keep my family's history and legacy alive."

"My religion has always been there," he says, "ever since my grandfather's AME church in Stonega, Virginia that is still standing. It's important to pass on one's heritage, because these days you don't find a lot of people stepping into the older ones' shoes. I was only half a man until I found God, and that completed me. Once you get that faith in the Lord that you're much more able to deliver.. in the sense that you can watch your tongue."

VIDEO: June Griffin on her father, Dr. Junius Griffin

Dr. Junius Griffin was an author, a national newsman, confidant and close friend to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and at one time, public relations manager for one of the hottest record labels in the world.

The Southwest Virginia native was also father to several children, some of whom say, really wanted to know him better.


In the PHOTO GALLERY, his daughter June Griffin comes to the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap, to accept an award for Dr. Griffin's induction into the museum's Walk of Fame, and she speaks candidly about the father she met at 24, and spent the rest of his life, getting to know him.

It is a moving interview about the importance of family, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the sacrifices that are sometimes made for the sake of children.

NOTE: You'll need the Adobe Flash Player to see the video, and remember.. don't move your mouse while the video is playing.

Willie Horton: 2008 Southwest Virginia Museum "Walk of Fame" Inductee

They called him "Willie the Wonder, and for good reason. Four-time baseball All-Star Willie Horton was a mainstay in the Detroit Tigers outfield, and an important member of the 1968 World Series Championship team. He spent 14 of his 18 seasons with the Tigers, hitting .273 lifetime, with 325 home runs, an American League Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, and a Comeback Play of the Year award.

Willie Horton was born in Arno, Virginia in 1942. He played for six American League teams, primarily the Detroit Tigers.

He hit 20 or more home runs seven times, and his 325 career home runs ranked sixth among AL right-handed hitters when he retired. He enjoyed his best season in 1968 with the world champion Tigers, finishing second in the AL with 36 homers, a .543 slugging average and 278 total bases.

In the later years of his career, he was twice named the AL's top designated hitter. He posted double-digit home run totals in 12 regular seasons from 1965-76, and hit two home runs in a game on 30 occasions. He had a career-high 36 HRs in 1968, a pitcher's year in which Detroit won the World Series; he finished second in the AL to Frank Howard in homers, slugging and total bases.

On July 15, 2000 Horton became just the sixth former player given the ultimate honor by the Detroit Tigers; a statue of Horton was placed in Comerica Park and his number 23 was retired, joining a select group that includes former Tigers players Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Hal Newhouser.

Since 2003, Horton has served as a Special Assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski. Former Tigers teammate Al Kaline also holds this position, and the two threw out the first pitch of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.

Horton and his wife Gloria, share 7 childred and 19 grandchildren, currently live in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He calls his family "his background," and says he is most grateful for Gloria, who has always supported him and helped him to be his confidence when he needed it the most.

"He Always Had a Ball and Glove in his Hands:" Mrs. Pinkie Remembers Willie Horton

"I remember he was always quite busy, but he always had that ball and glove in his hands."

When Willie Horton was growing up in Southwest Virginia, his sister-in-law remembers him as an ambitious youngster, who was always getting into something.

"Willie was six years old when I first saw him, says Mrs. Pinkie Horton. "He always stayed with us at our house in Virginia, 'cause he and (my son) Jimmy were the same age. Later on, he came to Kingsport and stayed with us for a while after we moved there. You'd still see him with a ball and glove all the time. He didn't talk about it much, but he could play. We always had that thought about him."

"Willie was a typical child growing up, but he was spoiled," laughs Mrs. Pinkie. "He was the youngest of 14 children, and they petted him, all 14 of them. Him and his cousins would be messing around in my and Ray's room, and I'd walk down the hall and I'd hear 'here comes Pinkie.' I'd say 'what y'all doing in here, and I'd whup everybody, didn't matter who it was. Willie'd run up under the bed and holler out 'Pinkie, I ain't doing nothing.' He'd get whupped anyway."

"He moved to Detroit, and when they signed him up for baseball, he was on a little field," she remembers. "He hit the ball the farthest, and the man signed him up off of that, just for hitting the ball the farthest away. I don't know whether they'd been watching him or his progress or what, but they signed him right up."

"We did go and see him play a lot," she says. "I never did like baseball. I liked football, but when they signed Willie up, I thought that was just the greatest thing in the world.. all of a sudden, baseball had a new fan in me. I didn't watch anything of the game on TV, but him. I'd always say 'y'all call me when Willie bats.. that was the only time I was watching it, except when I went to the ball games. We'd all go up to Detroit and I'd watch it all because we were in the stadium, but I only watched Willie bat, when it was on TV."

""When they put up that statue of him," Mrs. Pinkie says, "we all went up for that. Whenever you can go far in baseball like he has, it's really good and something to be proud of. Some of the family acted like they was kinda jealous of him, but I never believed any of it. They had just as much pictures of him as we did, and they went to as many games as we did."

"When he comes back home, I always try to cook him some of his favorite foods," she says. "But it's always brown beans and corn bread, brown beans and corn bread, he just loves that. He always wants me to cook some down-home food, neck bones, greens. He likes soul food."

"People always think you're a celebrity when we make it out of the mountains," says Mrs. Pinkie. "Even when I see somebody now, it's that way. A woman came up to me at the Walk of Fame thing and said 'oh you the great Pinkie that Willie's always talking about,' and I laughed and says 'no, I'm not great.. I'm not great, the God I serve is great, but not me."

"I'm really appreciative of what the museum is doing to honor these folks," she says. "But that's the good thing about Big Stone, Appalachia, Norton.. it's a small place and the white and black are always proud of what happens to anybody that makes it big in the world."

"The legacy that Willie leaves behind for the children coming along, is that he made it out of the coalfields and made it big," she says. "Just him making it, being the ball player that he is, and he didn't change from himself. Just a nice person, takes time to talk to people, and has never forgotten his roots."

VIDEOS: Willie Horton on Coming Home and his Legacy

It's an exclusive video interview with former Detroit slugger Willie Horton in the PHOTO GALLERY. Willie talks candidly about his career, coming home to Southwest Virginia, the honor of being inducted into the Southwest Virginia Museum Walk of Fame, and what he wants young people to realize from his struggle to be the best in Major League Baseball.

A separate video shows Willie accepting his induction award into the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame.

Willie Horton is an inspiration to everyone, but especially African-Americans in Southwest Virginia and Upper East Tennessee. Congratulations to him, on being one of two African-American inaugural inductees, and one of 23 total inductees, into the Southwest Virginia Museum Walk of Fame!

NOTE: You will need the Adobe Flash Player to see the video and remember.. don't move your mouse while the video is playing back.

Kingsport Hires Architects for V.O. Dobbins Renovation

New nonprofits committed to the site are Kingsport Tomorrow and the Susan G. Komen organization.



KINGSPORT — A couple more milestones have been reached in the V.O. Dobbins Community Center renovation and expansion project — architects have been hired, and the list of nonprofit organizations going into the new facility has been finalized.

City staff gave the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen an update on the project during a work session last week. The BMA voted to hire the architectural firm of Cain, Rash, West on Tuesday during its regular meeting for $479,826.
“The next step is taking the conceptual drawings we have and begin putting that in place for the construction drawings,” said Chris McCartt, assistant to the city manager. “We’ve done the programming and conceptual design, and we now have the tenants in place, space allocated within the nonprofit wing, and layout for remodeling and various others sections.”
McCartt said CRW’s work would take about three months to complete, which will include a state fire marshal review, a six-week process.
“I’d like to see some activity on the site this year. I know that may not happen in the form of new construction, but we may look at doing some select demolition at the site to give us a much better understanding of what we’ll be dealing with during the construction phase,” McCartt said.
“Any time you go into an old building for rehab or an addition, knowing what’s behind that structurally makes it easier for the contractor and us to have a firmer cost estimate,” McCartt said.
The project calls for demolishing 13,600 square feet of the existing building, renovating the remaining 46,000 square feet, and adding approximately 50,000 square feet of space — 27,910 of which will be a new nonprofit c e n t e r.
Earlier this year, the American Red Cross — which was expected to take up the first floor of the nonprofit wing — pulled out of the project, causing the city to scale back the size of the wing by 3,000 square feet.
The BMA voiced concern in August when McCartt announced the nonprofit wing would open at 100 percent occupancy. Therefore, McCartt said the space was reworked, allowing for an 1,100-square-foot incubator suite to be housed in the new wing.
“We went in and on the first floor added 600 square feet. By doing so we made offices on the first floor more efficient, and we were able to develop a suite with 1,100 square feet,” McCartt said.
Organizations previously committed to the nonprofit wing include the United Way, American Legion and the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency (UETHDA) and its Neighborhood Service Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Mountain Region Speech and Hearing.
In addition, Kingsport is allocating space, computers and furniture for the nonprofit Douglass Alumni Association and the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Web site free of charge.
Two new nonprofits were announced this week — Kingsport Tomorrow will be moving from downtown to the new wing, and the Susan G. Komen organization will have a small office in the wing as well.
Early estimates place the cost of the project at $8.4 million (with a worst case scenario being $9.5 million). Kingsport has applied for New Market Tax Credits to help offset the cost of the project — $1 million to $2 million worth, or 15 percent to 20 percent of the project. Kingsport has earmarked $5.6 million in its capital improvement plan for the project, and even if the city gets the New Market Tax Credits, a roughly $2 million gap in funding would still exist.
“We’ve put together a marketing packet for the center talking about the project, its history and the agencies committed. That has been submitted to various investors,” McCartt said. “It’s on the market now, and investors are looking at it. We should hear something back within the week.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Omega Psi Phi Fundraiser


SEPTEMBER 27TH and 28th

1st Annual Golf Tournament
Saturday, Sept. 27th 8:30 am
Crocket Ridge Golf Course
4439 L Jack Dr.
Kingsport TN
Entry: $200/group $50/individual

Step Show/Voters Registration
Carver Recreation Center
322 W. Watauga Ave.
Johnson City, TN
Saturday, Sept. 27th 8:30 pm
Admission: $5

After Party
The Cabash
807 W. Market St.
Johnson City TN
Admission: $10

For Tickets and further information contact Rayford Johnson, 423-791-3227, president of the area alumni chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

All proceeds from the events will to assist in the support and sponsoring of local and national program objections of the fraternity, such as Community Partnerships, Scholarships. NAACP and others.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I.R. S. Non-Profit Application In The Pipeline

The application for non-profit status for the Douglass Alumni Association, Kingsport is at the Internal Revenue Service for consideration.

President Doug Releford reported to the Alumni Board at its meeting on Saturday, that he sent the application for 501(c)(3) designation, along with the required $300 processing fee, to the government back in June. "The non-profit status will go a long way to financially helping the Alumni Association with many of its community projects," President Releford said.

The application was prepared by Jeffrey Faulkerson, former Kingsport resident and former president of the D.B Ebony Club. Jeffrey is the founder, president and C.E.O of Practical Solutions, a faith-based social service practice that helps parents work on education, relationships and planning for their children. He's also the author of "Raising My V.O.I.C.E," and has been featured on many radio programs and in several magazines. His website address is

In lieu of payment for preparing the application, Jeffrey has requested a donation by the Alumni Board to his non-profit organization, which the Board has agreed to. He is also establishing the recently re-formed Ebony Club as a non-profit organization, in an effort to continue the family teachings and doctrines that we all learned growing up in Riverview.

The I.R.S. is very thorough in its handling of non-profit applications, so it is generally felt that it will take 4 to 6 months for the application to be considered and/or approved.

Southwest Virginia Walk Honors Writers, Scientists, Baseball Player


The 23 initial inductees — eight of whom are still living — will be honored at a ceremony Saturday to unveil the walk featuring engraved tiles on the grounds of the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap.


Associated Press Writer

ROANOKE, Va. — What do the Carter Family music group, Francis Gary Powers and Daniel Boone have in common?
The legendary country musicians, the U-2 pilot shot down over Russia and the frontiersman all have connections to Virginia’s coal country. That makes them eligible for honors on a new Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame in Big Stone Gap.

The 23 initial inductees — eight of whom are still living — will be honored at a ceremony Saturday to unveil the walk featuring engraved tiles on the grounds of the Southwest Virginia Museum. The porcelain tiles are fashioned to resemble the native limestone and sandstone used in the late 19th-century house where the museum is located, said director Sharon Ewing.
“What we want to do is bring focus to our region, how our people from Southwest Virginia have contributed to our state, nation and world,” said Ewing, herself a Lee County native.
More than 60 Southwest Virginians were nominated for inclusion on the walk, the museum director said, and the initial group was chosen by a committee of academicians, historians and community leaders. Plans call for 10 names to be added every five years.
Ewing said the idea for the walk came from Virginia Beach, which has a Virginia Legends Walk honoring people from all over the state. The coalfields pathway is restricted to people who were either born or spent at least five formative or creative years in the coalfield counties of Lee, Wise, Scott, Dickenson, Russell, Buchanan and Tazewell and the city of Norton.
The Virginia Beach walk honors Gen. George S. Patton of Lexington, for instance. Its southwest counterpart will have a tile for actor George C. Scott, the native of Wise who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Patton.
“Lots of folks could claim Boone,” Ewing admitted, but added that his influence while in Virginia was great.
Boone and his team blazed “The Wilderness Road” through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky in 1775, according to the museum’s Web site, and before the end of the 18th century 200,000 settlers had followed the route he marked.
“I cannot think of anything at that time that singly shaped the nation more,” Ewing said.
The walk’s inductees include writers, politicians, musicians, athletes, scientists and military heroes, and several have rags-to-riches backgrounds.
Napoleon Hill, adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and author of “Think and Grow Rich,” one of the all-time best-selling self-help books, was born in a one-room cabin on the Pound River in Wise County.
Junius Griffin, who was born in the Stonega coal camp, went on to become a New York Times reporter and then worked in public relations on behalf of Martin Luther King Jr. and later Motown Records.
Included are three former Virginia governors: Linwood Holton, George C. Peery and Henry C. Stuart. Also on the list is C. Bascom Slemp, a Lee County native and former congressman whose bequest made possible acquisition of the museum’s quarters and construction of the walk.
Several of the honorees have said they’ll attend the ceremony, including television writer and novelist Adrianna Trigiani and William Starnes, a chemist who is a leading expert in vinyl plastics. Also expected is Willie Horton, a former left fielder whose No. 23 jersey was retired by the Detroit Tigers.
Ewing said others will have representatives there, including the nephew of Dock Boggs, whose music is credited with influencing Bob Dylan, and the son of college basketball star Glenn Roberts, who put the jump shot into practical use. Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, dean of the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, will attend on behalf of Dr. Andrew Still, a physician who developed osteopathy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rudy Hall Memorial Golf Tournament Coverage


A beautiful day greeted golfers taking part in the Rudy Hall Memorial Golf Tournament, held Saturday, September 13, 2008 at the Warriors Path State Park Golf Course in Kingsport.

"This is the 7th year for the tournament," says Reverend Kenneth Calvert, co-coordinator of the event, and spokesman for the sponsor, the South Central Kingsport Development Corporation. "It's a good time to bring together golfers of all types, to test their skills and raise money for a good cause."

The money raised from entry fees goes to fund scholarships awarded by the SCKDC every year to deserving students. "Generally, we have 20 to 25 players every year, and historically, we've raised from 7 to 8 thousand dollars for scholarships. Some years we have corporate sponsors, and we tie everything in with the South Central Kingsport banner."

The tournament is named after famed local golfer Rudy Hall, who passed away in 2002. At one time, Rudy was the manager of Kingsport's Solid Waste Treatment Plant, but always found the time to play golf, and at the same time as a black golfer, raised the standard for everyone. "He dearly loved the game," says Hall's wife Louetta. "He dreamed it, sleeped, loved it. He played all the courses in this area, and even traveled to different states to play in tournaments."

We give out the scholarship every year during Black History Month, the last Sunday in February," says Reverend Calvert. "So far, South Central has given out 12 scholarships, and many students who have received the money have since graduated and moved on to better things. As long as they keep at least a C+ average, the scholarship is good until they finish their degree."

The tournament in Rudy Hall's memory, is open to any golfers every year. "Anybody who can hit that little white ball as far as they can, can talk part," says Reverend Calvert.

"The fellowship is the main thing," says Louetta Hall. "The guys coming together, trying to outplay each other and finding out how skillful their game is, gives the opportunity to get together to play golf, have a good time, and raise money all at the same time"

Douglass Reunion Dates Set; Next Schoolbook Fair Dates Planned

Douglass Alumni Friends and Family.. please mark your calendars.

The 2009 Douglass High School Bi-annual Reunion will be held on Friday, July 3.. Saturday, July 4th.. and Sunday, July 5th of 2009 in Kingsport.

At its regular meeting on Saturday, September 13th, the Douglass Alumni Board decided to hold the school reunion on those dates. As it was last time, the Registration, the informal Sock-hop session, and the Banquet will be held at the Meadowview Convention Center. Details for the school parade and other events are still in the discussion stages, and so final plans will be announced later.

In an almost unanimous discussion, board members felt that, since most out-of-town alumni would be staying at the Meadowview Marriott and it is convenient to Riverview and South Central Kingsport, it was best to hold most of the events at the Convention Center. Registration fees have not been set yet.

Field Day will be on the Douglass Ballfield, although planned renovation work on our Douglass High School building will most likely be going on at the same time. If you haven't been back to Riverview in a while, or you're a regular visitor, you will be witnesses to history in the making at that time.

In other business, the success of the First Douglass School Book Fair was discussed. All of the remaining school books that were not sold at the first book fair have now been cataloged and are being held alphabetically for future book fairs. When the former owner of the school book, a family member or friend purchases the book, the owner's name will checked off an alphabetized list.

SPECIAL NOTE: Please watch the website this week, for the list of names of former Douglass students whose names were in the books. The list is a long one, with many students' names in more than one book. Many of the former students are deceased, some just recently, and their school books from the school that shaped their lives would be a fitting tribute to that person's memory.

Dates for the next book fairs have also been announced. It was also decided the next book fair will be in conjunction with the Class of '68 Reunion, coming up on Saturday, October 18, 2008. The book fair will be from 1 PM to 4 PM on that day at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center. Books will still sell for $1.00, and proceeds will go to the Alumni Association scholarship fund.

The next book fair after that, will be held during a rummage and bake sale, scheduled for Saturday, October 25, 2008 at the Bethel A.M.E. Zion Church in Kingsport. The rummage sale will be from 7 AM and will run all day. The school book sale will be at the same time, and the bake sale that also include dinners, will be at 11 AM that day. Again, proceeds go to the scholarship fund.

A third book fair is tentatively scheduled in November to coincide with the scheduled planned renovation work that begins on the historic Douglass High School building. Those details are not final yet.

Please put these days on your calendars, and plan on coming out and supporting your fellow alumni, neighborhood and community. And please watch your emails and the Douglass website for updates and changes.

The next regular meeting of the Douglass Alumni Board of Directors will be held on October 11, 2008 at 1 PM, in the Fellowship Hall at St. Mark's Methodist Church.

Kingsport's Regional Center for Applied Manufacturing




KINGSPORT — It’s a potential problem facing business and industry across the country: Finding enough qualified workers with the skills to replace hundreds of thousands of retiring baby boomers in the next few years.
Now two manufacturers in Kingsport are working together to help make sure they and other industries in the region have the skilled work force they need for the future.

The Domtar paper mill and Eastman Chemical Co. have partnered with Northeast State Community College to establish the Regional Center for Applied Manufacturing in downtown Kingsport.
The concept for the training facility stems back several years ago, when the downtown paper mill, which was under Weyerhaeuser’s ownership at the time, recognized the need to help make sure it had a future supply of qualified workers.
“What we were experiencing was the task of preparing to replace a number of upcoming retirements in our maintenance work force, so we began to re-look at our maintenance apprenticeship training program,” said mill Manager Charlie Floyd.
He said the company decided to partner with Northeast State to offer class curriculum coupled with on-the-job training. Classes began in 2004 in a 3,000-square-foot building at the corner of the paper mill property. Employees in the apprenticeship program could work during the day and attend classes at night.
Eastman officials took notice and began sending some of their employees for training at the site as well.
Within a year or so, the small training facility “was bursting at the seams,” Floyd said.
At the same time, a mayor’s task force was established to redefine the downtown area. Floyd was part of that task force, and noted that education became a major focus of redevelopment with plans for a higher education center just across the street from the mill.
“We said, okay, if we’re conducting all of this training right here at the corner of the mill site, and the higher education center is going to be constructed right across the street under Northeast State’s eventual leadership, it all just fits naturally together that we would need a larger, more modern facility that could be constructed in this vicinity and become a natural part of the higher education concept,” Floyd said.
Today, plans are being finalized for the Regional Center for Applied Manufacturing — or RCAM for short. The old training facility has been razed to make room for the new, and Domtar has donated the land for the project. The 26,000-square-foot building will cost about $2.7 million.
Laurey Conway, training associate at Eastman, said her company has received $15 million from the state for work force development. That money was part of Eastman’s Project Reinvest, a $1.3 billion plan to upgrade the Kingsport manufacturing complex. Conway said Eastman plans to use part of the $15 million work force development grant to fund construction of the new RCAM. Goins Rash Cain has been named contractor for the project.
The RCAM will also receive $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay for building equipment and scholarships.
And Eastman is also providing scholarship monies. Paul Montgomery, vice president of talent management at Eastman, said the company has established a new scholarship fund through Northeast State’s Foundation. The new Eastman Chemical Company Workforce Development Scholarship is designed to assist adult students who enroll in selected programs of study such as machine tool, welding and metal fabrication, electromechanical technology, and chemical process operations.
This fall semester, Eastman awarded about 70 students nearly $650 each to attend classes through the program. Until construction of the RCAM is completed, classes will held at the old Quebecor building, which is now owned by the city.
A groundbreaking for the RCAM is expected to take place in October signaling the start of construction. The building is scheduled to be completed in time for fall classes next year.
Meanwhile, the property will be deeded to the Kingsport Economic Development Board. Once construction of the RCAM is completed, the property and building will be deeded from KEDB to the Northeast State Community College Foundation.
The RCAM, the Regional Center for Higher Education, the Regional Center for Health Professions at Kingsport and the Regional Center for Applied Technology will make up Kingsport’s new Academic Village, an educational complex designed to train students in various fields to ensure a ready supply of highly qualified employees for area businesses.
Bill Locke, president of Northeast State Community College, said the RCAM project will be the college’s first off-campus facility where manufacturing skills are taught.
“And it’s training for the kind of jobs that many of the major industries are saying they need — those highly skilled technicians,” Locke said.
“So it’s going to be a great thing for not only filling the work force with new employees, but training the old employees who are there but who need to upgrade their skills,” he said.
“And certainly all that will play a part in enticing new businesses and industries to locate here, because what we’ll end up with is a qualified work force,” Locke added.
Floyd said he was involved in a similar training initiative in South Carolina in the late 1980s. That effort was used as an incentive for businesses to locate there.
“We were able to attract new industry by offering up entry level training programs for any new industry that came in as an incentive. And that’s what I think is going to be one of the goals of this facility — to convince some who may want to locate manufacturing or industry into this area,” Floyd said.
“That’s going to be a huge tool.”
Montgomery said Eastman hopes that the RCAM will serve as an anchor for a broad-based approach for education and training in high-tech manufacturing skills, which will serve as a benchmark for manufacturing jobs of the future.
“Eastman has had a long history of supporting education in our region, and the RCAM goes nicely with what we do as a company regionally. And the RCAM will get more students trained to be prepared as part of the highly skilled work force that we need going forward,” Montgomery said.
Folks interested in signing up for classes at the RCAM can register through Northeast State Community College. For more information, visit Northeast State online at

Thursday, September 11, 2008

OFFICIAL INVITATION: Douglass Class of '68 Reunion


The class of '68 has set it's time and date for it's get-together. We will have dinner at the Golden Corral, 1910 N. Eastman Rd., Kingsport, TN, Saturday, October 18, 2008, at 5:00 p.m. You don't have to be a member of the class of '68 to participate in this gathering. You are all invited to join us. We want to see everybody. The more - the merrier! We do, however, need a "head count" by October 10th. Call either one of the people listed below and let them know if you want to get in on the fun!!! Don't forget, there will be a dance later that night at the Elks.

Jenny Hankins - 423-863-1579
James (Moose) Henry - 423-914-5633
Frank Horton - 865-382-4144
Roberta Webb Lanauze - 865-679-4966



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Betty Turner Wolfe Passing

GATE CITY, Va. — Betty Turner Wolfe, 82, passed away Friday (Sept. 5, 2008) at Holston Valley Medical Center.

She was born in Gate City on Sept. 28, 1925 and was the daughter of the late David Turner and Maggie Mays Turner.
She retired from Appalachian Power Company. Mrs. Wolfe was a member of the Church of Christ.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Kay Ronald Wolfe; sons, Joe Kay Wolfe, Ronald Lee Wolfe, and Samuel Tomas Wolfe; great-grandchild, Kandance Wo l f e .
Surviving are her daughters, Delores Wolfe, Gate City,Va., Mary Wolfe, Detroit, Mich., and Marlene Davis, Kingsport; sons, Harold Shoemaker, Kingsport, David Wolfe and wife, Geralet, Timothy Wolfe and wife, Sandy, all of Gate City, Va.; sisters, Elizabeth Simpson and husband, Oscar, Gate City, Va. and Laura Gaines, Los Angeles, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Julia Wolfe and Thelma Anderson of Gate City, Va.; brother-in-law, Jack Anderson and wife, Pinky, Gate City, Va.; a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family and friends.
Calling hours are from 12 to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Colonial Funeral Home, Weber City, Va., and anytime at the residence.
Funeral services will be conducted in the funeral home chapel at 2 p.m. with Bro. Robert Tate and Pastor Steve Templeton officiating.
Music will be provided by Gate City Community Choir and Nolan Wolfe, grandson. Graveside services will follow in Holston View Cemetery. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers. Online condolences may be sent to the Betty Turner Wolfe family at

Monday, September 8, 2008

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting Announcement

SPECIAL NOTICE TO THE DOUGLASS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Our next meeting will be on Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 1 PM, in the Fellowship Hall at St. Mark's. Items to be discussed include:

1. The upcoming 2009 Douglass School Reunion (please bring your ideas and suggestions for making the get-together different from previous reunions).

2. An update on the tax-exempt filing of the the Douglass Alumni Association for a 501(c)3 designation by the IRS.

3. Discussion of the next Douglass School Book Fair fundraiser, time and place.

4. An update on the Ebony Club.

5. Other items of interest and concern.

The meeting is open to all Douglass Alumni, not just the board members. Please bring your ideas for meaningful discussion.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mrs. Ann Gillenwater Passing

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8

KINGSPORT — Mrs. Annie Lee (Foxy) Gillenwater, 85, 300 Carver St., Kingsport, departed this life on Friday (Sept. 5, 2008) at Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center after a brief illness.

Mrs. Gillenwater was born in Hancock County, Tenn., and made her home in Kingsport for the past 60 plus years. She was a member of Central Baptist Church.
Preceded in death by her father, Mr. Henry Brooks; mother, Mrs. Dora Brooks; husband, Mr. O.M. Gillenwater; several sisters; and one brother.
Survivors are one daughter, Mrs. Marie Isome, Buffalo, N.Y.; two grandchildren, Diane Simpson and Patricia Mitchell; three great-grandchildren, Teecie Simpson, Raschad and Gayla Mitchell; three great-great grandchildren, Chantal Andrews, Bria Simpson and G’nye Trashae Garrett; one brother, Mr. Bill Brooks, Kingsport; three sisters, Mrs. Loraine Coleman, Knoxville, Tenn, Mrs. Ruby Manuel, Rogersville and Mrs. Henrietta Jones; a special and loving friend, Mr. Hugh Hodges.
The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. till the hour of service Tuesday at Central Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be conducted from the church Tuesday at 12 noon with Dr. Anthony Daniels and Rev. William Thomas officiating.
Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Mrs. Annie Gillenwater and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service, Inc. 423-245-4971.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rudy Hall Golf Tournament Announcement

7th Annual Rudolph "Rudy" Hall Golf Tournament
September 13, 2008 - 9:00 am
Warriors' Path Golf Course
Tournament Fees: $50.00 Per Person
Three Flights for Trophies
Sponsored by South Central Kingsport Community Development, Inc.

Kenneth Calvert: 423-677-9777
Jeannie Hodges: 423-246-6809
Warriors Path: 423-323-4990

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Joseph Goode Passing

KINGSPORT — Mr. Joseph W. Goode, 65, formerly of Roanoke, Va., departed this life on Friday (Aug. 29, 2008) at the Wexford House, Kingsport.

Mr. Goode was born in Kingsport, and for the past 11 years lived in Kingsport, and for a number of years made his home in Roanoke, Va.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Theresa Bond Dykes and father, Mr. Gordon Goode.
Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Glendora Goode; one son, Mr. Johnnie Goode, both of Roanoke, Va.; three grandchildren, Ashley, Dionte and Ja'Quarius; maternal grandmother, Mrs. Virginia Bond; six loving aunts, Ms. Roselene Bond, Mrs. Willie Bond, Mrs. Beatrice Bond, all of Kingsport, Mrs. Betty (Thomas) Dickens (Atlantic City, N.J.), Mrs. Joyce Bond, Washington D.C., Mrs. Member Bond, Fayetteville, N.C. ; two uncles, Mr. Orvel Bond, Kingsport, Mr. J.D. Bond, Fayetteville, N.C.; a very devoted care taker, Mrs. Chynet (Carl) Hale, Kingsport; and a host of cousins and friends.
The family will receive friends from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday at 1000 Martin Luther King Dr.
Interment service for Mr. Joseph W. Goode will be conducted from the Pierce Cemetery, Thursday at 12 noon with the Rev. Joseph Comage officiating. Interment will be at the cemetery.
Mr. Joseph W. Goode and family are in the care of R.A. Clark Funeral Service, Inc. 423-245-4971

Monday, September 1, 2008

Douglass Class of 1968 REUNION


August 30, 2008

Dear Class of ’68,

It’s time for us to see each other again. We are sure you know that this is the
40th year of our graduation. Remember, we haven’t gotten together as a class since our 25th.

We are planning a class get together on the weekend of October 17, 2008 in Kingsport. We are going to plan a dinner for our class members and their guests, and a dance open to the public on Saturday, October 18, 2008, with all proceeds going to the Douglass Scholarship Fund.



We would LOVE to see you there. At this time, we are working out the details, but wanted you to know the date so that you can put it on your calendar and plan to attend.

If you have any questions, call Frank Horton – 865-382-4144, Jenny Hankins – 423-246-7035, or Bert Webb Lanauze – 865-679-4966.

We look forward to seeing you. We will be back in touch with you very soon. If you KNOW you will attend, please call one of us as soon as possible.

Thanks and MUCH love,

Jenny, Frank, Roberta

P.S. Jenny was deployed yesterday morning to Mississippi with the Red Cross to help those affected by Hurricane Gustav. Please keep all of them in your prayers.