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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Newest Grocery Store Closest to Riverview: Food City breaks ground at old Quebecor

The new store is expected to open next spring and employ 175 people.



KINGSPORT — Construction of Food City’s third grocery store in Kingsport and its first store on the west side of town is officially under way.

(The groundbreaking was Monday afternoon, November 29th, 2010.  The store will be located directly on the site of the old Kingsport Press property, directly across the street from Domtar downtown, about 13 blocks from the Riverview Community).

Click here to see a slideshow of the Downtown Kingsport Food City groundbreaking.

Company officials gathered with city and community leaders Monday afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new store, to be constructed on the old Quebecor property on Center Street in the downtown district.

Construction crews are already busy at the site, removing debris and building the store’s block walls.

Steve Smith, president and chief executive officer of Abingdon-based K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent of Food City, said he hopes the new store will be under roof by the first of the year and be ready to open next spring.

“There’s no town that’s any more important to our company than Kingsport,” Smith told a crowd gathered for the groundbreaking. “This is our third significant investment in this community in the last three years.”

Kingsport is home to Food City’s largest store — a 55,000-square-foot facility on Eastman Road. The company built the store three years ago to replace a smaller one at the same location.

And just a few months ago, Food City expanded its Colonial Heights location.

“And now we’ll be able to make an $8-plusmillion-dollar investment here,” Smith said. “I can tell you that we work with lots of cities and counties and municipalities, and nowhere can I find one that works better with us than Kingsport.”

The downtown store will include 48,500 square feet featuring a drive-through pharmacy, sit-down cafe and Gas-n-Go. The store will create 175 new jobs — half of them full time, Smith said.

In addition, Food City is constructing another 24,000 square feet of retail and office space at the site, Smith said.

The new Food City will sit next door to the Kingsport Farmers Market — a perfect match for a company that purchases millions of dollars in produce from local farmers, Smith said.

“We bought over $6 million of locally grown produce this year and sold it through our supermarkets. That keeps a lot of family farmers working, and we’re awfully proud of that,” he said.

He said his company also wants to incorporate design features into the store to remember what the property once was. For years, the site was a book manufacturing plant, first as the Kingsport Press, then as Arcata Graphics, then as Quebecor World. Quebecor donated the 20-acre property to Kingsport in 2007 after it closed its facility there in 2006.

Since then, the city has worked to redevelop the property. The Sullivan Street portion is being converted into a medical office complex, while Food City purchased 8.5 acres on the Center Street and Press Street side for $1 million from the city to develop its new grocery store.

Smith said he’s been approached by former Kingsport Press employees about the site’s history.

“I want to make a commitment that I made to them — we won’t forget that this is the Press property. And when we build this store, you’ll see a significance in the construction that will remind people for many years to come that this was indeed the Press property,” Smith said. “We think it obviously has a very important historical significance in this area.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Riverview Place Homes Dedication and Ribbon-Cutting Monday, November 29, 2010

Once again, the Riverview Community has been called out to a celebration.

Riverview Place, the new HOPE VI homes complex that replaced the Riverview Apartmentments will be dedicated on Monday, November 29th, 2010, with a 11A-M ribbon-cutting at the Riverview Community Center on Louis Street, and a tour of two of the homes.  Many of our relatives, friends and neighbors have already moved in.

All Riverview, South Central Kingsport residents and Douglass Alumni are invited to celebrate the end of a three-year process that replaced "the projects" with new government-subsidized homes.  Some of the homes located off campus in Riverview and Sherwood-Hiwassee were for purchase.

"Riverview Place" was the name you selected in a Douglass Website poll, and you're invited to help celebrate the newest Renaissance of Riverview.  That's 11 A-M Monday, November 29th, at the Riverview Community Center on Louis Street next to the Douglass Ballfield.

See you there!

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Vision Youth plans fund-raiser

• KINGSPORT — New Vision Youth will host a fund-raiser Saturday for Beau Torique Smith, a participant in Beautillion 2010, which will take place in December in Nashville and Franklin. Smith, a freshman at Franklin Road Academy, is the grandson of Dorothea McMiller of Kingsport. The fund-raiser meal will be held beginning at noon until sellout at 950 Dale St. The menu will include a fish sandwich for $4 and fish dinners for $7. The dinners include soup beans, slaw, cornbread, dessert and a bottle of water. For more information, contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty at 429-7553. The proceeds will go to benefit community projects and youth scholarships through the Beautillion’s sponsor, the Nashville Capital City Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving youth and adults.

Sensabaugh to play in East vs. West

• JEFFERSON CITY — Dobyns-Bennett running back Chris Sensabaugh has been named to the East team’s roster for the fourth annual Toyota Tennessee East vs. West All-Star Classic, to be played Dec. 11 at Carson-Newman College at 12:30 Eastern time. The game is televised live across the state, and can be seen on WAPK-36 in the Tri-Cities.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kingsport Racist Graffiti Writer Gets Probation


A Kingsport man will spend a year on probation for spray painting graffiti that police have described as “racist, obscene and threatening to President Obama” on an I-26 overpass.

Sullivan County Circuit Judge Jerry Beck granted supervised probation for Andy B. Frye, 19, 1608 Seaver Road, Kingsport on Tuesday. While on probation, Beck ordered Frye to pay restitution to the probation office and to complete 10 hours of community service per month.

Beck granted probation for Frye after denying his request for judicial diversion when he pleaded guilty to his vandalism charge in Blountville court on Tuesday.
Frye was indicted and arrested on a charge of vandalism over $500 in September 2009.

According to a Kingsport Police Department news release issued after Frye’s arrest, the vandalism on the Meadowview Parkway I-26 overpass was reported on April 19, 2009. Some of the graffiti referred to Obama as “the modern Hitler,” while other beams on the underpass read “all blacks must die” and “KKK.”

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

(DOUGLASS WEBSITE EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the graffiti that was found spray-painted on the I-26 underpass at Meadowview in April, 2009, click here.

Detective Chris Tincher said Frye was developed as a suspect following a report on the vandalism that was aired by WCYB-TV. Anonymous tipsters then contacted Kingsport police and implicated Frye.

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

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Rescheduled Douglass Alumni Board Meeting: PLEASE ATTEND

The Douglass Alumni Working/Executive Board meeting from this past Saturday, November 13th, was cancelled because there was a lack of a quorum to conduct our affairs.  Our bylaws indicate that we have to have at least 9 board members to vote on the business that comes before the board, including bills that have to be paid, and decisions that have to be made.

We only had 8 board members present..

As a result, there was no business conducted, meaning issues that needed discussion and decisions that needed to be made for the next month, were not decided on.  There are no minutes of this particular meeting.

So, Board President Douglass Releford has called another Working/Executive Board meeting for Saturday, December 11, 2010 at the V.O. Dobbins Complex for 1 P.M.

We are a federal non-profit association, and he strongly encourages attendance so that the business of the Association can be done in a timely fashion.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Please Keep Our Douglass School Teacher Jessie Charles in your Prayers!


School bus mishap
A Kingsport school bus with students aboard was involved in a crash with a Hyundai Santa Fe at the intersection of Stone Drive and Netherland Inn Road at 4:10 p.m. Friday (November, 13, 2010). According to Kingsport Police reports, a bus from Washington Elementary School, driven by Sharon Goebel and heading westbound on Stone Drive, attempted to make a left turn during a yellow light onto Netherland Inn Road and was hit in the rear by the eastbound Hyundai operated by Jessie Charles. The Hyundai flipped over and landed on its top, and both Charles and a passenger were taken to Holston Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. No one on the bus was injured. Several parents arrived on scene to pick up their children while the rest were transferred onto another bus. Both drivers were cited for failure to exercise due care.

At right, Susan Haas talks to some of the children on board the bus.

We are checking on injuries to Ms. Charles and her sister Thelma, who was in the passenger side of the car.   As soon as we can update this story, we'll let you know.

Bulldogs hand D-B Indians heartbreaking OT loss



Ned Jilton II —
D-B QB Sean Seabolt (5) gets a block from one of his linemen and heads upfield.

KINGSPORT — On a night of spectacular performances, it was a busted play that proved to be the game-winner.

Bearden scatback Devrin Young took the ball outside instead of inside and raced 10 yards to paydirt, and the Bulldogs upset Dobyns-Bennett 41-35 in overtime Friday night in the second round of the TSSAA Class 6A playoffs at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.

The touchdown was one of five for Young on the night.

“The play wasn’t designed that way,’’ a jubilant Young said afterward. “But all the guys held their blocks and I was able to get to the outside and score.’’

The victory sends Bearden (9-3) to top-ranked Maryville next Friday in the state quarterfinals. The Rebels thumped Farragut 41-10 to advance.

Ned Jilton II —
Dobyns-Bennett’s Chris Sensabaugh (32) eyes Knox Bearden defender Devrin Young (33) as he looks for running room during Friday night’s second-round playoff game at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in Kingsport.

For the Indians (11-1), it was another frustrating early-round loss in the playoffs. D-B entered the contest as the state’s last undefeated 6A team and rated first in the TSSAA’s power rankings.

“Penalties and mistakes just killed us tonight,’’ said Tribe coach Graham Clark. “Maybe the kids just wanted it too much.

“Our offense depends on execution and a couple of crucial times we didn’t get the job done.’’

Both teams scored on their first two possessions of the game.

Bearden took the opening kick and embarked on a six-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Young covered the final 22 yards on a breathtaking run to the end zone.

That drive was helped by two 15-yard penalties against D-B.

Ned Jilton II —
Devaun Swafford (8) slips through a hole in the line and runs for a Dobyns-Bennett touchdown against Bearden on Friday night.

The Indians answered with a 10-play, 62-yard possession and knotted the score at 7 when De- vaun Swafford raced around the left end for the TD.

Young scored again on a 1-yard run before D-B’s Chris Sensabaugh bullied his way into the end zone from a yard out to tie it at 14.

However, Bearden went to the locker room ahead 21-14 after a 28-yard scoring pass from Kyle Riemer to Stefon Stephens.

After the break, Sensabaugh capped a 10-play drive with a 3-yard TD to start the third quarter that pulled D-B even again.

Then things got interesting.

On the ensuing kickoff, Bearden’s Josh Haney fielded the ball and immediately pitched it back to Young.

In the blink of an eye, Young burst through the D-B defenders and raced 80 yards to put the Bulldogs back on top 28-21.

Again, D-B answered.

Quarterback Sean Seabolt got the Indians back on the board when he connected with Derrick Steele on a 21-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone. The extra point was wide, however, leaving D-B down 28-27 with 4:32 left in the third quarter.

With 3:32 left in the game, Seabolt gave the Indians their first lead of the night when he found Swafford with a 15-yard scoring strike, and a successful 2-point conversion put the Tribe up 35-28.

The Bulldogs took less than two minutes to respond, tying the score after Young’s 22-yard scoring dash.

Seabolt brought the D-B faithful to their feet with a 43-yard pass to Swafford that put the ball on the Bearden 17-yard line with three seconds left. D-B immediately lined up for a field goal attempt, but the Bulldogs call three successive timeouts to ice the Tribe.

The ploy worked: The snap from center was high and Bearden defenders swarmed the holder.

The Indians got the ball first in overtime but were stymied by a procedure penalty. They went for it on fourth-and-5, forgoing a possible field goal.

“We knew we’d have trouble containing Young,’’ Clark explained. “And our last field goal attempt wasn’t so good.’’

Bearden stopped Sensabaugh at the 3, and Young’s subsequent run sent the Bulldogs home happy.

“Our guys never stopped fighting,’’ Clark added. “That’s what they need to take away from this game, they fought their hearts out’’.

Sensabaugh finished with 172 yards rushing on 25 carries. The Indians had 526 yards of offense but were slowed by 12 penalties for 118 yards.

Young carried 25 times for 112 yards.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Douglass Alumni Board Meeting This Saturday

Please don't forget that we will be having our next Douglass Alumni Association meeting, this Saturday, Nov. 13th at 1:00 p.m. at the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex. We will be meeting on the second floor above our office.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Keeping the Drug Dealers Out: Part of the Riverview Renaissance" - A Special Report





The headlines screamed it all the time. One community in Kingsport has dirty laundry. The news media blared it relentlessly.  They didn't have to make us look bad.  We WERE bad.  Mention this one community, and you'd get raised eyebrows and funny looks.

From every corner of Kingsport, the fingers to drugs, crime and bad behavior all pointed to Riverview. And admittedly, for good reason.

For several years, Riverview held the historic distinction of being the one neighborhood in Kingsport with the most crime.

"We tried a number of crime intervention efforts in Kingsport as a whole, and a lot of them in Riverview," says Kingsport Police Chief Gale Osborne. 

We sat down and talked with Chief Osborne recently about Riverview's past as a wholesome, family neighborhood, that quickly evolved in the 80's and 90's, as the neighborhood with the highest crime rate in town. Most of the crime centered around illegal drugs and all of the social stigmas associated with that.

"We tried undercover, high profile, a lot of police officers," says Chief Osborne. "We walked the beat in Riverview, we rode bicycles, we did community groups.. we put a great deal of emphasis on community intervention, community policing. It was difficult for us, because we couldn't be there all the time to see the problems."

"You pass by, and a mama's scare to death to let her child out to play," he remembers. "She's afraid she's gonna get hurt or hooked up with a drug dealer."


It's no secret in any city, that crime follows drug activity. Any law enforcement officer will tell you they go hand-in-hand, and in Riverview, that combination was the number one problem.

"Calvin, we saw the drug dealers coming in from New York and different parts of the country," says Chief Osborne. "A lot of people thought they were just local, but they weren't. The drug trade is so organized that the big fish eat the little fish, and next thing you know, the big fish are controlling the pond. As soon as you put one group in jail, another group comes right in after 'em, especially with adults trying to get juveniles to do their dirty work for 'em, because they know that a juvenile sentence won't put 'em in jail for long."

"They're killing our youth, either putting 'em in jail, or hooking 'em on the drugs.. just keeping 'em in trouble all the time."


Chief Osborne says, on many occasions, he would see things in Riverview that you would only expect to see in much larger cities.

"I would drive through through the neighborhood with (Shiloh Baptist Church) Reverend Kenneth Calvert," he remembers. "He said he wanted to ride through because he'd heard the drug trafficking was so bad. In the evenings, the drug sellers and dealers would be blocking the road. Even in the morning in the daylight, they would change methods. It was just like driving through McDonald's and getting a biscuit. The drug traffic was literally that bad, and we were seeing the signs that it was getting worse."

"I think on that particular trip, we counted 23 individuals who were wearing either solid red shirts, or solid white, trying to gang up and say 'I'm part of this gang' or 'I'm part of that gang.'

"I'm gonna run this place."

"During that one particular ride-along," says Pastor Calvert, "as you drove from the 229 down Lincoln Street to Dunbar Street, it was nothing to have drug sellers step out in front of your car and ask you if you wanted any drugs. Even sitting right there beside the chief of the Kingsport Police Department, they would offer you drugs. Did they know it was Police Chief Osborne? They knew it was Chief Osborne, I assure you they knew who he was, they knew who his officers were. These drug dealers were brazen enough to do it right in front of the police chief."

"They just didn't care."

And it went further than that.

"We saw enough of their system to know how they were operating on Lincoln," says Reverend Calvert. "They would keep one guy on the corner there at Lincoln and Wheatley there at the old swimming pool, and whenever he saw an officer turn from Wilcox onto Lincoln heading into Riverview, he'd call out. At that point, you'd see young boys wearing white tee-shirts that came right down to their knees, just walk off. The minute the police left the area, they'd return. That was the cycle. They were all dressed up in white tee-shirts, so who do you pick up? Who do you ask questions? They had a system about it."

It was amazing how the drug culture from much larger cities had settled in, on little quiet Riverview.

"The police told us a lot of those drug dealers were coming in all the time, using street tactics that worked in Detroit, because a lot of them were out of Detroit, some out of Chicago. This was a fertile ground, a rich and fertile ground. A lot of the sellers were not of Kingsport, but a lot of the buyers were Kingsport residents, born and bred of the industrial side of the city. Their money fed the drug traffic and the ddrug culture. Meantime, the sellers recruited many of the people who lived here to sell the drugs, and the cycle was complete."

Chief Osborne says he was afraid for the residents of Riverview.

"It sent shivers up my spine," he says. "I can't stand for anybody to intimidate another individual, and that's all it was, was intimidation. If you let 'em, drug dealers and sellers will push everybody out of a community. I just hate for people to live in fear. I also hate that we tried all those different clean-up methods over the years and we just barely made a dent in the illegal traffic."

"These longtime citizens of Riverview, born in this community, were schooled here, raised families here, some of them still going to and from work every day, were literally afraid to leave their homes after dark," Reverend Calvert says. "We had shootings that were occuring any time after 2:30 in the morning, sometimes around 3 A.M. That's when the violence really erupted, between 3 and 5 in the mornings. While that was going on, prostitution had spread away from Lincoln Street, and gambling was going on, at just about every corner."

In 1994, the death of four-year-old Jalissa Ferguson shocked the community and the city.  "Two dudes, just shooting at each other," says 19-year old Anthony Horton, who was living with his family in the old Emmitt Collins grocery store building on Lincoln Street.  Turns out, the shooting involved two drug dealers in the Douglass ballfield in front of the Riverview Apartments, jockeying for turf control.  That was all Horton remembers about the shooting, because whenever guns came out, he says "it was R.D.F.C."

"Run, and duck for cover."

Meanwhile, efforts to reclaim the Riverview community were often rebuffed by the drug dealers in control.

"I remember the very first trash and litter pickup we had," Reverend Calvert says. "We picked up about 27 tons of trash in Riverview and the Maple-Dale-Oak-East Sevier area. THE VERY NEXT WEEK.. the drug dealers had re-littered every street corner all over again. I don't know where they got so much trash from.. it was like they went through every garbage can they could find, and literally from Main Street through the tunnel, up and down Lincoln Street and through the alleys of the apartments, they spilled the trash back out everywhere. That's how mean they were. We had to have the city come back out that week and pick it all up again."

"They (the drug dealers) were making a statement," he says. "They drew a line in the sand and were daring us to cross it. We knew it was them that re-littered, because some of the trash they threw back out was so far up into the bushes and trees that nobody could have put it there that didn't mean for it to be there. They were trying to imtimidate us."

"But we had a secret weapon they were about to find out about."

Chief Osborne says, that secret weapon started off slowly, gained momentum, and eventually became the central message to fighting crime in Riverview.

"For the most part, it was neighbors finally saying 'enough is enough,'" the chief says. "That's what did it. When the people said 'we have to do something to stop the problem,' Riverview went in an entirely different direction."

Some residents had heard about a program called "Weed and Seed," a process of federal money from the U.S. Department of Justice, for weeding out drug dealers and crime, and seeding communities with positive influences.

"Linda Kincaid and Linda Calvert were invited to come to Albuquerque, New Mexico to hear a 3-day resentation on Weed & Seed," says Reverend Calvert. "We all thought it was about planting grass seed and sowing things in the garden, but when they got back, they were all fired up about how Weed & Seed could help Kingsport. To do that, a grant would have to be written and Linda Calvert was the author of that grant. Bristol (Tennessee) already had a Weed & Seed and went through the process, and they said it'd prbably be 2 or 3 years before we'd get a grant approved. It got approved for Kingsport the first time we applied, we got it the very first year. Everybody was shocked that Kingsport got it so quickly."

Chief Osborne and Reverend Calvert then took a trip to Los Angeles, to see how the program was put together in larger cities.

"We were out in California back in 2003," remembers Chief Osborne, "and I saw how they introduced cameras into a high crime rate neighborhood, consisting of the same demographics as Riverview, the way the public housing was set up," the chief recalls. "They introduced those cameras and it made a world of difference. Of course (the police) took a little flack about them, but the philosophy was, 'if you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have to worry about cameras watching you.'"

Chief Osborne says once he brought the idea back, "we did a great deal of education and discussion about the cameras when we got them in 2005. We pitched the team concept in fighting crime between the neighborhood and police, the fire department, the city government and any association that would work with us. Involved in that as well, was Tennessee Eastman (now Eastman Chemical). They were a major player as well."

The Eastman connection would become important several years later.


Most folks in Riverview say, there were many incidents over the next 4 years that prompted them and the city to take action about the crime in Riverview.

One of them, at 4:30 one morning.

"We'd had a shooting at 229 (the 229 Club) on Lincoln Street," says Reverend Calvert. "54 shell casings were found in the street... at 4:30 in the morning. One young man had been shot, and the police department did not know one thing about the shooting until Indian Path Hospital called them about it later that morning. Think about it.. 54 shots. Luckily, nobody was killed, but nobody ever called 9-1-1. Not one call to 9-1-1. Not one call from Riverview. When the news of that got out, it made the citizens say 'listen... if we don't help ourselves, the police won't help us.  To have 54 bullet casings in the street, somebody was there.. somebody had to see and hear something."


But then, later that morning.. right around the time police were learning about the overnight shooting, one incident that probably changed everything.

The morning, the bullets went into the Eastman Headquarters building.

"We were in a meeting on the second floor of V.O. Dobbins that overlooked the ballfield and the playground," South Central's Linda Calvert remembers, "ironically, discussing the systemic causes of poverty and how Kingsport might address them. All of a sudden, right out of nowhere, we hear "pi-poom, pi-poom, pi-poom" in succession. We all looked at each other, and I said,'that sounded like gunshots.'  At that time, we hit the floor. After a few seconds, we all tried to locate where the shots had been coming from. Several people called 9-1-1, but 9-1-1 had already gotten calls about it. We went over to the window that looks out, and I looked down on the playground, and I saw several small children lying on the ground, and their teacher was covering them with her body."

"Later, the teacher told us, the students were yelling 'are we going to die!.. are we going to die?"

"That image," she says, "has stayed with me, knowing the lives of those children were at stake, and that they could have been injured or killed."

To this date, nobody knows who fired the shots in the ballfield near the Riverview Swimming Pool, or why they were fired, although given community history, everybody knew it was over drugs and the rapidly growing drug turf war in the neighborhood. Apparently, the shooting had an immediate impression.

"The director of the Upper East Tennessee (Human Development Agency) was in the meeting that morning, several of their board members, representatives of several federal agencies, the Sullivan County mayor was there," says Mrs. Calvert, "and just out of nowhere, to hear gunshots. It was frightening.. it concerned us greatly. Needless to say, everybody was on edge the rest of our meeting, and all discussions focused on the violence."

They, and the rest of Riverview all found out later.. that they were not the only victims.

Bullets from the same guns had pierced the Eastman building next door.. a fully occupied building this work day. No one was hurt, but still.. the stigma of a neighborhood out of control, was too much to bear.

"There were several efforts already underway to curb the crime problem in Riverview, but that one incident turned out to be one of the biggest motivating factors that turned people's heads, both in the community and in government," says Mrs. Calvert. "No doubt about it, because everybody began talking about it."

"I believe it sort of allowed the city and all the other agencies, to say 'we need to make these partnerships with police and government work," says Reverend Calvert. "That shooting occurred at 11 o'clock in the morning, in broad daylight."


"We had actually been meeting a long, long time before that shooting happened," says Chief Osborne. "There had been several meetings back when Chief Kesling was still chief. There were meetings after the Jalissa Ferguson incident where she was shot and killed back in 1994... we tried every feasible avenue at the time, and nothing seem to work to the degree that we needed them to work."

"But that was indeed one of several turning points."

"We started putting walking beat officers in Riverview who really took a personal interest in the neighborhood," he says. "Jim Clark was a good example of that...when folks saw that he was putting his life on the line along with other offices in the neighborhood, they developed a love for him. He's a good corporate neighbor. If something ever got around that Jim was gonna get transferred somewhere else in the city, I'd get call after call to keep Jim Clark in the Riverview community. That's how much love they had for him. But we had been having many, many meetings preparing for what we could do, and the situation just gradually got worse and worse on the shootings. It wasn't just any one incident.. something had to be done and everybody said we've got to work together to reclaim the community."

And then... those cameras.

Oh those cameras.

"We did a three-prong process with the cameras," the chief remembers. "The city kicked in an amount for the cameras, the Weed and Seed program kicked in a certain amount, and then we got a grant," he says. "We spread the word around that the cameras were there and operating, and I just couldn't believe the response. These cameras are just great. With those, we can get facial recognition on lawbreakers. Those were the two things I demanded of the camera system; that first, we catch the crime in progress, and that we get a facial identification through the camera at a distance, so we could get them in court to prosecute."

"We flipped the switch on those things, and it was awesome."


The camera system was installed on power poles surrounding the Riverview Apartments in January, 2006. They have been operational ever since, even during and since the Riverview Apartments were torn down. They are working even now. Chief Osborne says, the camera system works day and night to put the finger on lawbreakers.


The ability of surveillance cameras, and the sound provided by some of them, is surprising.. sometimes, striking.  Since the Rodney King incident caught on tape in California in March, 1991, the phrase, "the video don't lie" has come to mean to Kingsport drug dealers:  "look to the sky and smile.. you're on candid camera."

No where has that been more evident, as Kingsport police focused on the trouble spot known as the 229 Club.

"I remember two particular instances at night, where we'd pick up a shooting and a major domestic fight (at the 229 Club), where a man was just literally beating a woman with his fists," remembers Chief Osborne.  "When the word got out that we had both of those incidents on fight, caught through the cameras, it made big statements: yes, we were watching, yes, we got good video, yes, we can go to court with that, and yes, the warning has gone out that.. 'we're watching you.'"


How close can the cameras zoom in?

"I think the most amazing thing about those cameras, is really.. how close they can zoom in," says Reverend Calvert.  "I watched video of where they zoomed in on an actual cigarette butt on the ground.  The picture was so close, that you could almost read the name of the cigarette, the brand of the cigarette written on it.  If a drug transaction was going down, the camera could zoom in and capture the movements of the people, even their little subtle movements, the body language."

"That's not something that you can hide easily, and the camera catches it all."


Now, it's time to look to the future.

"We still have some cameras in place in Riverview," the chief says, "and now that V.O. Dobbins is renovated and the HOPE VI homes are completed, if we need to change the location of some of our cameras or add to them, that's going to help keep the crime rate down. Right now, we have a strong presence in the neighborhood with community policing and officers in their beat zones."

"It's just a whole new world (in Riverview)," he says. "You go through now, and Mama and Daddy could be out playing with the kids, and not having to worry about anything. You're from Kingsport, Calvin, you know how it has been at one time, and you know what it is now. There's just no comparison."

"The family atmosphere is slowly returning," notes Reverend Calvert. "Where we are right now, just shows what citizens can do when they work together. It took a lot. Mayor Jeanette Blazier spearheaded it, our current mayor Dennis Phillips picked up the mantle and is carrying it along, and I do believe any future administration would do the same thing because it has enriched the community."

"It's a win-win for everybody."

Part of the police presence was an office that used to be on Booker Street in the old Riverview Apartments.

"Our new office in the V.O. Dobbins Complex will be manned 24 hours a day on a regular basis," the chief says. "The officers will be in and out, doing regular reports, doing walk-throughs of the neighborhood, checking on things and being part of various activities in the community, basketball, football, both indoor and outdoor things."


"We are determined to keep the crime out, that overran Riverview," he says, "without question. We were so successful with the program that we started, that it got national attention. We actually went to Baltimore to meet with a whole group of law enforcement from across the country, who were trying to find some sort of relief in their own communities. They looked at our program and now some of them are trying what we did. It's not just a program.. it's a lifestyle and I don't think any part of the community will accept anything less than the very best that we can provide, and as a police chief, I don't what to provide anything less than the best."


Right now, the Lee Apartments has two of the cameras that Riverview once had, but the cameras still there are still active. "Right now, we're working on a grant close to 800-thousand dollars that involves more patrols, undercover drug officers and overtime for repeat offender programs. When we flip the switch on the cameras, we don't get every drug dealer because they don't congregate like they used to. We'll pick 'em off one at a time before they move to Highland or Cloud or Lynn Garden. They're easier to get now, because they're isolated by themselves now, instead of being with 500 other drug dealers and users."

Now that the V.O. Dobbins Complex is welcoming people to Riverview who have never been there before, the HOPE VI homes will have many of the apartments' former residents coming back, and Riverview residents have reclaimed their neighborhood, now the focus is on keeping the bad element out. Surely, those same drug dealers have been hiding in the bushes, waiting on all the hulabaloo to die down so they can move back in and resume their illegal activities.

Both Reverend Calvert and Chief Osborne have views on that.

"First, I'd pray that they would reconsider their illegal actions," says Reverend Calvert. "I don't want them to have to go to jail.. and they will. We have far too many citizens of color in jail. Their actions will put them there. Second.. coming back into Riverview with that again will not work this time, because community policing is firmly in place and folks are not afraid to call the police and speak out. The cameras are still here, they are still working. They're stronger and working better than ever and for their own safety, the drug dealers and users need to go someplace else."

Chief Osborne was more blunt.

"They may try to deal their drugs," he says with a resounding voice. "They may try, and we're gonna put 'em in jail. "If (the drug dealers and users) are looking for a fight, we're gonna give 'em one, and we're in for the long haul. Whatever it takes. If I can't do it with 5 officers, I'll do it with 10. If I can't do it with 10, I'll do it with 116. If I can't do it that way, I'll call in officers from other communities. We are determined to address any problem concerning drug dealers."

"Our track record shows that we're extremely aggressive on drug dealers, and they'd better stay out of Riverview. They'd better stay out of Kingsport, because we're gonna put 'em in jail."

"Period. Simple as that."

Chief Osborne says, the only way to effectively fight the drug problem in Riverview and all of Kingsport's neighborhoods and communities, is residential involvement. People who notice something suspicious, a strange vehicle not seen before, people hanging around, looking at the ground, looking around, walking from one point to another and back.. should pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1 immediately.

He gives all the credit for cleaning up Riverview to the residents.

"It's a team effort," he says. "As a police force, we could not do it without the people being our eyes and ears, just working together. It's corporate, it's community leaders, it's residential, it's church groups, it's the city. But above all, it's grass roots."

"Stay in touch with each other," he says. "I know about the family spirit in Riverview, I have seen it, being part of the community in a positive manner. If something doesn't look right and it makes you stop and think, report it. Pick up the phone and don't hesitate to give us a call. Stop that officer and ask how things are going."

"Please continue to be the eyes and ears to help us."

"It's awesome to go through Riverview now and see the kids playing, riding their bikes.. neighbors sitting out on their porches again.. people living in peace," he says.

"We aim to make sure it stays that way."

Seabolt leads Tribe’s charge in opening playoff win over Patriots



KINGSPORT — Cold weather and hot tempers on Friday night didn’t prevent second-ranked Dobyns-Bennett (11-0) from advancing to the second round of the TSSAA 6A football playoffs.

The Indians defeated a stubborn Jefferson County team 28-3 and will be facing Bearden, a 42-7 winner over Hardin Valley, in next week’s game.

 Quarterback Sean Seabolt, keeping the ball on options, gained 92 yards with 13 carries to lead the D-B charge. He scored a touchdown on a 15-yard run and passed 26 yards to Maurice Cannon for another.

“Seabolt makes plays,’’ Indians coach Graham Clark said. “Jefferson County moved the ball and ran some clock on us early in the game, then our defense stiffened.’’

The Patriots (6-5) took the battle to D-B early on. After missing a 47-yard field goal, their game went downhill.

D-B fullback Chris Sensabaugh, who has rushed for more than 4,000 yards in 3½ seasons as a varsity starter, capped an 80-yard scoring drive by plunging the final yard for a 7-0 lead.

“We knew what we had to do,’’ Sensabaugh said.

Nineteen seconds later, the Indians were on the scoreboard again. Derrick Steele intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

“We had a lot of fire in us starting the second half,’’ Steele said. “I stepped in front of the receiver, caught the ball and took it to the house.’’

The Patriots’ Jose Esparza managed a 43-yard field goal before halftime.

The first half ended with an altercation. Both teams emptied their benches after Jefferson County’s Anthony Goins intercepted a pass and ran it back to midfield. It took coaches several minutes to restore order. There were no ejections.

“Some dude pushed our guys along the sideline,’’ Seabolt said. “We’re very close on this team and we’re not going to let anyone shove us around. We went into the locker room at halftime and got settled down.’’

D-B dismantled the Patriots in the third quarter. Seabolt scored on his 15-yard run just moments after Devaun Swafford raced 73 yards with the second-half kickoff.

“It was a right-sideline return,’’ Swafford said. “I got through a wave of defenders and didn’t realize the player who tackled me was that close.’’

The Indians finished the scoring with the TD pass to Cannon, who sprang open on a go-route.

“Sean had underthrown one pass to me,’’ Cannon said. “This one was a beautiful throw. He put the ball out there and it just fell into my hands.’’

D-B simply wore down the Patriots.

“We just ran out of steam in the second half,’’ Jefferson County coach Justin Anderson said. “D-B has a great team. We knew that before we came up here. We didn’t execute a couple of times on fourth down and that killed us.’’

D-B’s star lineman, Ty Hayworth, suffered a high ankle sprain and it’s doubtful he’ll play against Bearden.

“I had fun playing in the first half,’’ Hayworth said. “It made me mad that I didn’t get to be out there in the second half.’’

Clark put in Hunter Holt to fill Hayworth’s guard position. “Hunter stepped in and did a nice job,’’ Clark said.

Jefferson County posed a threat with the type of speed D-B hadn’t seen this season.

“(The Patriots) had a good game plan running option plays against us,’’ Seabolt said. “We won and I can’t tell you how happy I am for my teammates.’’

Darrell Watson, D-B’s associate head coach, said the Patriots moved the ball effectively in the first quarter by attacking the inside.

“We got pressure on the edges after they spread out and managed to slow them down,’’ Watson said.

Jefferson County was held to only 83 yards total offense.

Late in the second quarter, Evan McFall blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt by D-B kicker Chad Diminick.

Swafford rushed 11 times for 56 yards.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

KEDB sells Martin Luther King Drive property to KHRA


KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Economic Development Board has sold the last piece of property it owned along Martin Luther King Drive to the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

During Tuesday’s KEDB meeting, the board ratified the sale of the land and property known as Robinson’s Funeral Home.

Elaine Bodenweiser of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce said the KHRA paid the KEDB $200,000 in cash to retire part of a KEDB promissory note. The remaining amount on the note, a little more than $120,000, was issued into a new promissory note and first deed of trust on the p r o p e r t y.

City Manager John Campbell said he and city leaders hope the property is soon redeveloped. He said the property would be prime for multistory townhouses and some restaurants.

Shipley fends off Vaughn in rematch

Tony Shipley took 10,182 votes compared to Nathan Vaughn’s 6,262 votes.



Republican incumbent Tony Shipley rode a wave of voter discontent with Democrats and soundly defeated Democratic challenger Nathan Vaughn to win re-election to Tennessee’s 2nd House District seat on Tuesday.

The 2nd House District includes Riverview, South Central Kingsport, Colonial Heights, Indian Springs and Sullivan Gardens.

Shipley took 10,182 votes compared to Vaughn’s 6,262 votes, according to unofficial returns from the Sullivan County Election Commission.

Neither Shipley nor Vaughn was immediately available for comment late Tuesday night.

The contentious rematch between the two candidates featured negative TV ads, negative direct mail pieces and attack robocalls.

Shipley unseated Vaughn, who served three terms in the legislature, by about 300 votes in a bitter campaign two years ago.

This year, they criticized each other’s past legislative votes and tried to convince the public who was better suited to move the $100 million State Route 126 rebuilding project forward.

One House Republican Caucus robocall piped into district homes Friday alleged Vaughn tried to intimidate local TV stations into taking down an ad pointing out that he voted for “an $8 million party room” during his tenure as a lawmaker.

Vaughn had voted in the spring of 2008 to table a GOP budget amendment calling for a spending halt on an underground ballroom at Tennessee’s Executive Residence.

But Vaughn stressed GOP Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a member of the State Building Commission, would have been in a stronger position to act on that project.

A Tennessee Republican Party direct mail piece that went out over the weekend criticized Vaughn for “supporting Big Labor” and getting campaign contributions from labor groups.

In direct mailers and in TV ads, Vaughn was also tied to Democratic President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In his and Tennessee Democratic Party (TDP) mail pieces, Vaughn was portrayed as an independent voice who is “pro-life and pro-gun.”

Shipley asserted he had stronger positions than Vaughn on spending issues and illegal immigration.

But TDP mail pieces said Shipley “gives us a bunch of political double-talk about his record” and criticized him for voting against a $700 million bonding bill paying for a number of local road projects.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Julian Bond: Bound to be a Star!

Say hello to J.T. Bond.. first name Julian.  He's 5 years old.

His grandparents are our own Brenda and Thomas Bond, and the great-grandson of Thomas (Buddy) Sr. and Sylvia Bond, so that means that J.T. is a Douglass descendant.

He's entered in the Gap Kids Casting Call for commercials and acting roles, which we know he'll be great at!

You can vote for him, too!  Just go to:

Here are the codes to enter to vote for J.T.:

#1063432, #1065494, and #1066874

Grandmama Brenda says, after clicking on the link, there is a place to enter these ID numbers. Be sure to click on the word BOY, then enter each ID number to bring up his photo and to vote.

The winner will be announced next month.  Let's get out the vote, and vote J.T. in!