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Thursday, December 29, 2011

To the Family of Lorraine Worley Perry:

Please accept my deepest and heartfelt comfort about the death of Lorraine. I was saddened to hear about her untimely death. I always remember the years we spent at Douglass with Lorraine and James, especially in English class, and the many high school activities that we all attended. Lorraine was very funny and warm and kind.

With deepest sympathy,
Dr. Rosemary Gray
1964 GraduateDouglass High School
Kingsport, Tennessee

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Eve Party Announcement

"Friends for a Safe New Year's Eve" Present:

New Year's Eve Party (Drug & Alcohol-Free) on December 31st, 2011.
A New Year's Eve party for all area high school students, grades 9 through 12.
Balloon Drop at the Stroke of Midnight.

Location: Rascals, 125 Cumberland Street, Kingsport from 9 PM to 1 AM
Admission: $10 (includes food, party favors, fun and music).

Music provided by DJ (A-Dogg) of Nashville, TN.

Parents & community policing will be on hand as chaperones.

Sponsored by Parents of DB Students.

For more information, contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty, 429-7553 or Rascals, 378-5050.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Parathlete to speak at HOPE event


Kingsport native Blake Leeper, a member of the 2012 United States Paralympic Team, will speak at 6 p.m., Thursday, December 29, 2011 in the second-floor auditorium of the Kingsport Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center St., in a program sponsored by HOPE (Help Our Potential Evolve).

Leeper, who was born without legs from the knee down, grew up playing sports. At Dobyns-Bennett High School, he played right field and second base on the baseball team as a sophomore. He joined the varsity basketball team as a senior.

At the University of Tennessee, where he was studying applied physics, Leeper became involved in track and field and discovered a special kind of prosthetic made strictly for running. Michael and Gilgia Prumbs of Kingsport’s Pro Balance and the Challenged Athletes Foundation helped Leeper land his first pair of “Cheetah Legs.” A few months later, he joined the Paralympic Team..

Leeper is currently training for the 2012 Paralympic Games to be held in London, where he will compete in the 100- and 200-meter races as well as the 4 x 100 relay. In May, he competed in the 2011 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England, earning a bronze medal in the men’s 100 meter.

The Paralympic Games were first organized in the late 1940s for injured World War II veterans returning home. Today, the Paralympics are elite sport events for athletes with a disability, emphasizing the participants' athletic achievements rather than their disabilities.

Earlier this year, Leeper spent a couple of days in Haiti visiting with and encouraging children who lost limbs in last year’s devastating earthquake. He went as a representative of the San Diego-based Challenged Athletes Foundation that helps provide opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities, allowing them to pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

H.O.P.E. is a non-profit community organization with the driven desire to enrich the lives of the people of the city community of Kingsport and the surrounding areas. Its purpose is to educate youth and enhance the lives of all people who become involved in any of our programs offered by the organization.

Leeper is the son of Billy and Edith Leeper, and the grandson of William and Lillian Leeper, all of Church Hill.

Leeper’s appearance is sponsored by the city of Kingsport, Eastman Chemical Co., Food City, Elixir Group, TriSummit Bank, WKPT TV-19 and Walmart.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Parks and Rec hosting events for kids at V.O. Dobbins

• KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department has scheduled a number of activities at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. complex over the school system’s Christmas break.

On Tuesday, there will be an Open Gym held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Children can shoot basketball or play volleyball or corn hole.

On Wednesday from noon until 2 p.m., there will be a Wii Bowling tournament for children ages 9 to 12. The movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” will be shown following the tournament.

On Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a Family Game Night, and hot dogs and drinks will be provided for the first 80 in attendance.

On Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., a 3-Point Contest will be held. For more information contact Tyson Keller at 224-2489.

Let's Party: Alumni Board Christmas Get-Together

The Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni Board held a little Christmas get-together on Stone Drive in Kingsport on Saturday, December 17, 2011.

Click here to see a slideshow of the Alumni board's holiday party.

Names had been drawn previously, and during the dinner, presents were given to board members by those who drew names.

It has been a good year for the Sons and Daughters of Douglass Alumni, and next year looks to be even better. At the present time, we are studying various community functions that the Board is considering making contributions to. Those that qualify, represent neighborhood-minded events that make the Riverview and Douglass communities better places to live and be a part of.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Board of Directors representing the Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Inc.!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Douglass Alumni Passing

Just received word that Lorraine Worley (Perry) - Douglass Class of '64 passed away in Detroit. The obituary is now posted at the PASSINGS AND OBITUARIES link.

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas: 'Joyous Holiday Singing from the Kids'"


"We put all of our little voices together, and one big, beautiful sound comes out."

Residents of the Riverview Community can thank the New Vision Kids for spreading Christmas cheer this season. Many of them were greeted at the front door by New Vision Christmas caroling this week.

It's a yearly tradition.

"We've been Christmas caroling door-to-door for the past 8 years," says New Vision Kids director Johnnie Mae Swagerty, who partners with South Central Community Development for the event. "The kids really enjoy singing the Christmas songs. It's part of their continuing holiday activities."

The kids sing with a purpose.

"We do this in memory of Mrs. Julia Evans," Swagerty says. "Before she passed away, she would put on a coat and come outside with us, and would just never want us to leave. She'd pull me aside and say, 'Johnnie Mae, please don't ever stop doing this.. these carolers are beautiful. Keep it going for the seniors who can't get out. Nobody may ever get to see anybody, except these children singing to them. All they have to do is get to the door. They need that,' she'd say."

"Keep it up," she'd say, "and we always have, in memory of Mrs. Evans."


The weather cooperated, as 26 New Vision kids and 7 adult chaperones began their trek at 4 P-M on Monday, December 19th. First on the visiting list were the non-profit agencies in the V.O. Dobbins, Sr. Complex.

"We started singing with the Big Brothers-Big Sisters office, then Kingsport Tomorrow," Swagerty says. "Then, the Boys and Girls Club and Head Start, the VFW and we finished with UETHRA (Upper East Tennessee Human Resources Agency), all of the non-profit organizations. They gave us candy and told us to be sure and come back next year. Everybody really enjoyed the songs.. it really put them in the holiday mood."

Click here to see a slideshow from the New Vision Kids' Christmas caroling in the Riverview neighborhood. These pictures are courtesy Chassie Smiley-Freeman.

The singing then moved over to Dale Street, with "Jingle Bells," "The First Noel,"and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

"Every year, Ms. Barbara Bristol welcomes us with open arms," she says. "Mrs. Ethel Ruth (Russell) always comes out... Mrs. Mary Skaggs comes out, Sheila Leeper.. Sissy Graves always comes out when she hears us outside, Valerie Williams and her family. Ms. Roberta McClintock always comes to the door to listen, my sister Tish Hayes and my mother Pastor Geraldine come out. Ms. Mary Carpenter always comes out, her and her family. Mrs. (Jean) Clark wasn't home, but we still stopped at her house and her neighbors came out. Ms. Kathy Cox is new on Dale Street.. she said 'if I'd known y'all were coming, I'd have had y'all some hot chocolate.' On Maple Street, Jenny Hankins was out listening, Ms. Hardie came to the door and listened. Richard Hicks had been sick, but he was glad to hear us and Angel Pruitt.

"We also went by Twinkle and Will McClintock, and Ms. Chi-Chi ALWAYS gets a thrill out of hearing the kids.. she comes to the door and really enjoys it."

Then it was on to Riverview.. and more of "Rudolph, The Red-Nose Reindeer,""Away In A Manger,""Joy To The World," and most any other Christmas song you could think of.

"We stopped by Ms. Betsy and Mr. Jack Pierce," Swagerty says, "and the kids sang around their Nativity Scene in the front yard. They really enjoyed it. We went down to Dunbar Street, and swung down to Mrs. Roberta (Big Mama) Deal and Charlene opened up the door and we just sang and sang. Jerri Leeper came out and Olivia Swafford did, too."

We stopped by 'Miss Toots' (Mamie Gillenwater) and she invited us in. We sang 'Jingle Bells' to her and as we were leaving, she said 'don't ever stop doing this caroling, it's beautiful. She also got in a request for her Christmas present: a fried fish sandwich. Please fry me one. I had promised her from our last fundraiser. Before this year is out, I WILL fry up a fish sandwich for 'Miss Toots.'"

"Everywhere we sang, people were so overjoyed to see us," she says, "and the one thing they kept saying was 'don't ever stop doing this because most people don't go caroling anymore."

That does bring up an interesting point. We've checked, and there doesn't seem to be any other organizing Christmas caroling group going door-to-door in Kingsport. No where.... except in Riverview.

"I don't know why there aren't more door-to-door groups," Swagerty says. "Some of them are too busy, I guess, or they don't want to walk so far in the weather. Used to be when we were growing up, you'd see them in just about every neighborhood. We kept it going in Riverview, because it came from church.. the churches always organized door-to-door caroling in Riverview. Sometimes, there'd be 3 or 4 groups from separate churches on different days. Riverview has always had caroling, so we bundle up the kids to protect them on cool days so they won't catch cold, then off we go."

"If folks around Kingsport want to go with us, they're very welcome," she says. "

"Two years ago, we went to Rotherwood Estates and sang door-to-door, and the folks there enjoyed it. It was a pleasant surprise for them, and we try to go to nursing homes, too when time lets us."

'With our dedication to Mrs. Evans, the New Vision Kids will always be singing door-to-door," says Swagerty. "She was always one of our big symbols of family, and with the New Vision kids and the Riverview neighborhood, we are all still family, and that's important. Family in the community is what motivates us."

"8 years is a long time to do something," she says. "Our little sopranos, altos, tenors and basses get together, to bring cheer to the community, and it's worth it."

"It's a Christmas present to our neighbors."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Christmas Lights of Riverview

The Riverview community is really in the Christmas spirit this year.

Everywhere you turn, homes in the Riverview neighborhood, including crosstown on Dale, Maple, Oak Streets and Sevier Avenue are adorned with colorful Christmas lights.

We visited every home in the neighborhood to capture the spirit of the Riverview Christmas season for you.

Click here to see a slideshow of the Christmas lights in Riverview. The street where the home is located on, is in the caption.

It's Christmas lightings and sightings in Riverview, guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.

Some homes have simple strands of lights.. others are much more decorated, with nativity scenes and festive furnishings.

It's enough to turn the heads of both children and adults alike.

Visit the slideshow of Christmas lightings and enjoy the wonders of the holiday.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all... a good night!

"The Candy Maker's Dream" Highlights the New Vision Team

Colorful characters, sensational singing, and an exciting atmosphere.

That's the scenario behind the New Vision Kids' visit to the Lamplight Theater in Fall Branch on Saturday, December 17, 2011, to see the live performance of "The Candy Maker's Dream." The play is a heart-warming Victorian Christmas musical based on the legend of the candy cane.

"It's the life of Christmas," says Johnnie Mae Swagerty, director of the New Vision Kids group, "the whole candy cane story that the kids like. Who doesn't like candy canes at Christmas? The play offers an explanation to where they come from, that the kids can identify with."

Click here to see a slideshow of the New Vision Kids' visit to see The Candy Maker's Dream" at the Lamplighter Theatre.

This is the last season — at least for the next few years — audiences can catch a performance of the original theatrical production, written by Billy Wayne Arrington, president and founder of Vision Productions Inc., which manages the LampLight Theater. The theater rotates its Christmas shows every two to three years, so after the curtains close on this season’s production of “The Candy Maker’s Dream,” opening Friday, it will be replaced next year with something new.

“The Candy Maker’s Dream” is set in Wooster, Ohio, in the mid-1800s. It’s the story of Gertrude Imgard, a German immigrant’s daughter, as she reaches out to a confectioner salesman and two young orphan friends. Through the compassion of Rose, a music teacher, and the faith of Gertrude, hearts are destined to change with a visit from a special angelic messenger.

Gertrude meets Cecil Higgenbotham, a confectioner from Indiana who is in Wooster for a sales meeting. Gertrude introduces him to both candy canes and Christmas trees. She also introduces Cecil to Gabby and Darby, orphaned brothers living on the streets of Wooster. The audience learns that Cecil is an orphan himself, raised in an orphanage in England.

The production features five original songs, plus traditional English carols.

The Imgard family is credited with bringing the candy cane to America. The bent sugar stick treats were a popular holiday confection throughout Europe, and Gertrude Imgard’s father August, a German-Swedish immigrant, decorated his Christmas tree by hanging the treats from its branches in the late 1840s. The tradition quickly spread across the United States.

This is the second visit to the Lamplighter Theater for the New Vision kids.

"They've been very good all year long and this summer," Swagerty says, "and this is our way of rewarding them for their good behavior. "We also appreciate Billy, the owner and play director, for helping us through a donation to get the kids here. He held a junior camp this year in Pigeon Forge that the kids really liked, too. He's really a blessing to the New Vision youth, and we really appreciate it. They are really good people here at the theater."

The New Vision Kids' visit of 35 kids and 7 adults to the Lamplighter Theatre was sponsored by Kingsport Weed & Seed, the New Vision Youth group, and the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation.

New Vision Kids Take a Sleep-over Back in Time

It's a step back in time for the New Vision kids in Kingsport.

Make that several steps.

A day of Christmas fun for the children of the community continued, with a visit and a sleep-over at the Mystery of Natural History Museum in downtown Kingsport. For those of the older generation who remember, the Museum is housed in what used to be the old Woolworth's store on Broad Street.

Click here to see a slideshow of the New Vision Kids' visit and sleep-over at the Mystery of Natural History Museum in downtown Kingsport.

Mary McNabb owns and operates the museum, and has turned the old building into a catacomb of exhibits, live animals, and skeletal replicas of some of our planet's first inhabitants.

The kids were delighted by the full Natural History Museum that featured
STAN- Tennessee's only T-Rex display.

"Some of the kids did not know about dinosaurs being among the first creatures on earth," says Johnnie Mae Swagerty, New Vision Kids director. "It was very educational, even to the rock samples on display. They were fascinated to find out that much of the stone is just like the countertops in their homes, little things like that. That's where it comes from."

There were plenty of rock and mineral displays, live animals, a NASA space exhibit with meteorites, and more for the kids to enjoy and ask questions about.

The fun continued into the night for the kids.

"The sleep-over began with hot dogs, chips, and different kinds of dessert," says Swagerty. "Later on, we had games, and activities that kept them busy, but kids will be kids. They were excited to be able to run around and get all that energy out. Bethel (AME Zion Church) invited us to Christmas dinner on Sunday, and they're going to be ready for that."

The director of the Mystery of Natural History Museum is under the direction of Mary McNabb, with curator/preparator Danielle Thornburg. The museum technologist is Robert Segelhorst, and Al McClain is the facilities manager.

From Ms. McNabb comes this note: "Our museum is owned and operated by Kingsport Museum Association, a non-profit entity formed by citizens dedicated to bringing life and redevelopment to downtown Kingsport."

"Our objective is to keep our local natural history museum in Kingsport
and establish additional museums as planning and funding permit.
Our desire is to make downtown Kingsport a destination for
museum-goers nationwide."

"We are a community organization and need the help of all our public spirited citizens to survive, and we would love to have your help as an association member, contributor, display sponsor, or volunteer."

Please call or come by to discuss your future as part of this endeavor, and your contributions are tax deductible."

"This was the first time for the New Vision Kids to attend the museum," Swagerty says, "and judging from their reaction, it won't be the last. As the museum grows, this will become an annual event for us."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

River rescue

Emergency personnel, 2nd picture below, launch a raft to rescue a stranded motorist Wednesday evening at the new boat ramp off Netherland Inn Road. According to police, 90-year-old Herman Logan of Kingsport had been fishing and was preparing to leave when his truck rolled into the Holston River with him in it. ‘It looks like his brakes failed and he just rode it all the way into the river,’ Kingsport police officer Brad Conkin said. At right, rescuer Kevin Risney talks with Logan as he sits atop his truck waiting for the raft. 3rd picture below left, emergency personnel help Logan to an ambulance. The Kingsport Police Department, Kingsport Fire Department, Kingsport Lifesaving Crew and Sullivan County EMS responded to the 6:15 p.m. incident.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Minutes of the Sons & Daughters of Douglass Board Meeting - 11/19/11


Members In Attendance For Pancake Breakfast: Virginia Hankins, Ruth Russell, Thelma Watterson, Sheila Leeper, Andra Watterson, Calvin Sneed, Ozine Bly, Wallace Ross, Jr., Sandra Wilmer, Pamela Sensabaugh; Andra Watterson, Linda Bly, Frank Horton, Dee Dee Horton, Joy Hankins, Johnnie Mae Swagerty, New Vision Youth, and Vicki Smith.

Members In Attendance For Mtg: Ruth Russell, Pam Sensabuagh, Ozine Bly, Andra Watterson, Calvin Sneed, Frank Horton, Wallace W. Ross, Jr., Vicki Smith, Jenny Hankins, Kathy Evans, Lillian Leeper, Sandy Wilmer, Linda Bly, and Joy Hankins.

Old Business

Call to Order - Virginia Hankins, President

Prayer - Wallace W. Ross, Jr., Sergeant-at-Arms

Golf tournament for 2012 and Jenny has been getting letters ready to go out to sponsors. Our goal is $50,000 which is noted in the letter along with other amounts listed.

Calvin explained that Doug had sent in paperwork to the Corporations Division at the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office to change our name and that information has been received. Jenny sent in the letter for the name change along with the amendment to the charter to the Division of Charitable Solitations, but at the present time that office is not showing up as being received. Calvin will follow-up and fax a copy of the information needed to the Division of Charitable Solicitation.

Frank made a suggestion to send any mail out certified so we can receive notification of receipt. Vicki will be responsible to send out any documents via certified mail. Lillian stated that the bank information was correct regarding the cable transfer.

New Business

Calvin suggested linking up with and promoting other programs in the community. In doing so, (we) Sons & Daughters of Douglass, will be listed as a sponsor. Calvin made a motion that as we contribute to programs that do benevolence here in the community. Joy seconded and motion carried with (1) abstained. Jenny praised everyone for working together today and making the event a success! She stated that the alumni should stay active in order to network within the community.

Suggestions for other fundraisers were discussed for upcoming year. We do have a working office and will continue to keep the telephone service. Jenny stated that she and Wallace met with two gentlemen from Springville, TN that was inquiring how our alumni association began. They looked at our website and were inquisitive on trying to organize and revive their old school. A state historical commission representative has contacted Calvin regarding information on some of the Rosenwald schools in the area.

For future meetings here in the V.O. Dobbins building, Wallace will wait downstairs for all members to enter. This is to ensure the safety of all tenants in the building. Report from our treasurers on our fundraising today was $221 (bucket donations), $235 in checks, and $1,375 in money. We want future fundraising to include more seniors and maybe transport them to the event. The three top fundraisers were Vicki Smith, Thelma Watterson, & Virginia Hankins. Jenny opened discussion for dollar amount to give New Vision Youth and all agreed on $100.00. The children worked really hard and were excellent with their customer service skills.

Net of $1,110 after all expenses deducted. Treasurers are keeping their financial report for each meeting logged in a notebook. Kudos to our President, Jenny Hankins for her radio interview regarding the pancake breakfast. Tax-exempt number will have to be changed along with our name.

A picture is needed of our President and Treasurers opening our new account with Green County Bank.

A check will be submitted to the Chamber for our membership dues. The next meeting will be Saturday, January 21, 2012.

Joy made a motion for the alumni to have a Christmas party and bring a gift. Each person is responsible to pay for their meal. Frank seconded the motion and motion carried. Christmas gathering for the alumni will be at Longhorn’s Steakhouse on Saturday, December 17, 2011. Thelma will call to reserve seating and everyone will meet @ 7:00 p.m. A total of 17 names were drawn with a $10 limit for gifts. Please inform Thelma if you’re bringing a guest so there will be adequate seating.

No further business to discuss. Sandra made a motion to adjourn and motion seconded by Ruth. Our next alumni meeting to be held on Saturday, January 17, 2012 @ 1:00 p.m.

Meeting Adjourned.

Minutes Submitted By: Vicki Smith, Secretary

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Holiday Tradition: South Central Christmas Celebration for Seniors

Seniors 55 and up came together in friendship and fellowship at the annual South Central Holiday Christmas Celebration.

The event was held Saturday, December 10, 2011 in the Douglass Room of the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex in Riverview.

Click here to see a slideshow of the South Central Christmas Celebration for Seniors. These pictures provided by Virginia "Jennie" Hankins.

About 120 people attended the gathering, and all told, everybody had a good time.

"We don't always get to come together as a community to celebrate something," says Jeannie Hodges with the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation, who sponsored the event partnered with the New Vision Kids and Kingsport Parks and Recreation. "At this kind of event at Christmastime, there's good fellowship among the neighbors, getting to see each other and just be around each other."

"Sometimes, it's the first time they've seen each other in a long time.

In the past, there was been a dinner-type atmosphere, but Hodges says, this year, she planned something different.

"We planned to have food," she says, "but it was a different kind of dinner this time, not the traditional meal you'd see at Christmas. We catered meatballs, chicken fixed in a couple of ways, pinach dip, potato salad, barbeque, deviled eggs and two or three desserts. We also gave away door prizes, had games for the seniors, and everybody also got to take home a goodie bag. Van (Dobbins, Jr.) was the Secret Santa this year. He brought by some items that went into the goodie bags that everybody loved. Nobody was expecting it.. even me."

The Seniors Christmas Celebration was started more than 10 years ago by South Central's Mary Jane Carnes. "It was a fun thing to do in Riverview," says Hodges, "an outing for some of the seniors that don't get out much. Everybody always looks forward to it."

It was also a good time for the seniors and the youth of the neighborhood to socialize with each other.

"It's a way for the youth to give back to the community," Hodges says. In everything they do, the message is to always honor the seniors. The New Vision kids wait on them like they do at other events, bringing them food, tea, napkins, and just seeing to their needs. That's good positive reinforcement that gets passed on down through the generations."

"Best of all, the kids love it, and the seniors appreciate the attention."

The audience was treated to music and praise from the Shiloh Youth Praise team, and the New Vision Kids performed a skit about Christmas. They took each letter in the word "Christmas" and explained what the meaning of the season is, using the letters.

Hodges says, she was pleased to see new seniors at the event this time, that hadn't been to the previous get-togethers. That, she called a blessing, because often, everybody doesn't get to see their neighbors as much as they want to.

Christmastime is the perfect season to renew and progress those old friendships.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tail of the Turkey Bowl: One Bowl Game That's Already Been Played

A turkey and a football.

What do they have in common?

Neither can fly. In fact, both need considerable help getting off the ground.

Both are very valuable. But together? You bet!

The return of a former Riverview neighborhood tradition brought both the turkey and football together over the Thanksgiving weekend.


"The Turkey Bowl was a community thing every Thanksgiving," says Fredrick Smith, who remembers it well while growing up living in the Riverview Apartments across from the Douglass Ballfield. "Back in the day, men would gather either before or after Thanksgiving dinner, and they would play tackle football in the ballfield. First, two or three people in the same family would get out there and play, then two or three others passing by would see the action and join in. Next thing you know, there was a bunch of us out there, banging heads and just having a good time.

The competition was quite intense, as Smith remembers.

"There were some altercations," he laughs. "There was full-blown tackling and full contact to the ground. Everybody came out to play. My father Fred played in the Turkey Bowls, my stepfather, a lot of my older cousins.. then, neighbors, dudes from 'cross town. We always had enough to make two full teams. In the end, we all really had fun and it was something that everybody looked forward to."

Over the years, as the neighborhood changed, so did the Turkey Bowl. Eventually, it went away.

But not for good.

Fredrick Smith and many of the residents who remember it, have brought the Turkey Bowl back.. this time with a purpose.

"We put a little twist on it," Smith says. "I wanted to give people a reason to come out again and socialize in the re-emerging Riverview."

Click here to see a slideshow of the 2011 Turkey Bowl in the Douglass Ballfield in Riverview. Pictures courtesy Josh Harwood, Model City Sports.
Click here for more stories and pictures from Model City Sports.

The result was a toy drive to benefit children in the community who Smith says, "might not have be able to get anything for Christmas, or maybe not get as much as they were expecting. Everybody playing on the field, or anybody watching in the stands had to bring a toy that would be given to underprivileged kids this Christmas."

No hard hits on the field this time, though. The new Turkey Bowl was flag football, designed to involve many of the young men in the neighborhood.

"We wanted the young guys to come out and participate," he says. "We got the kids involved, and we did it flag football so that everybody could have a good time, but not get hurt, and we made it a toy drive for the needy kids."

Smith found a lot of support for the new Turkey Bowl in Riverview.

"All I did was say, 'hey, we're gonna have a Turkey Bowl involving flag football for the kids,' and when folks found out about the toy drive, everybody jumped on the bandwagon. Trippy Deal brought out his music, he provided that free of charge. Lisa Williamson came out with the food, she sold some stuff, she gave some stuff away.. we also had some cash donations that added on top of what we collected for the Turkey Bowl. It was a community event, and we want to keep it something that the community can get involved in, not just for the day we play, or the season we play in, but through the year leading up to it."

Smith says, the children growing up in the neighborhood will be reap the benefits.

"Short term the needy kids will get toys for Christmas," he says. "Long term, events like the Turkey Bowl, show the kids that, you don't have to be rich to give back to the community.. you just have to have the time."

"If you wait until you're rich... you might not ever be able to do it."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bethel Stewardess Board Program on Sunday


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blake Leeper Coming Home to Speak


Neighborhood Watch meeting scheduled

• KINGSPORT — A Borden Park and Lincoln Area Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 1238 Pine St., Kingsport. All area residents are invited to attend. A representative from the Kingsport Police Department will be present to answer questions and listen to concerns.

Moving on: Cathey leaving Kingsport schools for Nashville post

Damon Cathey will be heading the Inspirational School Partnership in Nashville.



KINGSPORT — Kingsport Assistant Superintendent of Schools Damon Cathey is leaving the city school system for a job in Nashville, Cathey announced in a letter to staff and faculty Tuesday.

Cathey will be heading the Inspirational School Partnership, a public/private partnership in Nashville.

His resignation is effective Dec. 30, the same date that Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller is retiring after more than three decades with the school system. Kitzmiller has been superintendent since 2002.

“We’ll miss our friends and community here in Kingsport. It’s been an invaluable experience working with folks focused on learning and making students successful,” Cathey said in an afternoon phone interview.

Two Kingsport Board of Education members said Cathey was not among the 15 or so people consultant Wayne Qualls has discussed with board members as the school system’s possible next superintendent, but they believe he is an excellent educator.

“Right now, we are really trying to find someone who has superintendent experience,” BOE Vice President Carrie Upshaw said Tuesday.
Cathey has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent.

“I’m just very sad to see him go,” Upshaw said. “I wish him every success. I think he will be wonderful wherever he goes and do a wonderful job.”

Cathey’s move will leave the system as of Dec. 31 with no assistant superintendent, unless one is appointed, and under the leadership of an interim superintendent the BOE appointed at its Dec. 1 meeting.

John Adams Principal Dwain Arnold was appointed interim superintendent but has no interest in seeking the position full time. Cathey has been a finalist for two Tennessee superintendent positions in the past year or so.

Kingsport City Schools spokesman Andy True and BOE President Randy Montgomery said it was unclear Tuesday if and when an interim assistant superintendent would be appointed.

“Dr. Cathey has served the students of Kingsport well for the past five years,” Montgomery said. “He’s a good man, and I wish him well.”

Montgomery said it would be up to Arnold to determine whether an interim assistant is needed since the BOE hires the superintendent and the superintendent hires the rest of the school system employees.

Cathey and his wife have three children in the Kingsport system, and his wife is a school-based family liaison at Jackson Elementary School. Cathey said she and the children would remain in Kingsport at least until the end of the 2011-12 school year, giving his children continuity for the year and his wife a chance to continue her work at Jackson and volunteer work on a community garden.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kingsport BOE considers naming school after beloved Cora Cox


The Kingsport Board of Education is reviewing a recommendation from a committee charged with renaming the New Horizons Alternative School.

Tammie Davis, supervisor of elementary programs and professional staff, said the “overwhelming” response from students, staff and faculty was to leave the name as is.

But because that doesn’t comply with school board policy saying schools are to be named after someone who had an impact on the school system and/or community, the committee recommended the school be named after the late Cora Rogers Cox, a teacher in the system from 1944 to 1982.

Cox, born Cora Rogers in 1916 in Camden, Arkansas, died of cancer in August of 1982, shortly after she retired from teaching. She taught in Nashville, before coming to continue her teaching career at the old Douglass High School (Kingsport's African-American elementary/high school before the system integrated in the 1960s), where she met her future husband John Cox. After integration, Mrs. Cox taught at Ross N. Robinson and John Sevier Junior Highs, and finally Johnson Elementary, where, as special education teacher, she was one of the first teachers of autistic children. She did additional study at the University of Tennessee, the University of Virginia, Agricultural and Industrial State, and at the Judevine Center for Autistic Children in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mrs. Cox was twice named "Teacher of the Year" in Kingsport, and in 1976 named Tennessee "Teacher of the Year". She was one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year in 1977.

She also was an elder at First Presbyterian Church on Church Circle, the outstanding East Tennessee State University alumna of 1977 (she received her masters in education from ETSU that year, and eventually her doctorate in education), and was also an adjunct faculty member at Steed and Carson-Newman colleges.

Mrs. Cox initiated the Head Start program in the Kingsport area, established scholarship funds at Dobyns-Bennett High School in memory of her late husband, and contributed liberally to programs of the Boys Club.

BOE member Betsy Cooper said Mrs. Cox loved storytelling and dancing. Children just loved her gentle patience. Cooper also said she found a photograph of Cox leaving a church service with former President Richard Nixon, with a cutline saying she told him she prayed for him during the Watergate investigation that was the beginning of the end for his presidency.

The committee is to recommend a full name for the school to the board at a voting BOE meeting.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board will be its January business meeting on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Field House Alumni Hall.

We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dream Matchup Will Not Happen

The "Dream Matchup" will not happen this political season. And given the currrent mood of the country, it may not ever get this close to happening again. This, despite the fact that only a few short weeks ago, it seemed entirely probable.

The battle pitting African-American Republican Herman Cain versus African-American Democrat Barack Obama was effectively eliminated, with the decision of Cain on December 3, 2011 to suspend his campaign.

Cain says, on the advice of his family, he is ending his campaign for president in the Republican field.

Questions about infidelity have dogged Cain for several weeks; in fact, they were among the issues that first surfaced, as he made a campaign swing through Tennessee, ending in Rogersville.


As his poll numbers began to climb upward, Cain refused to discuss with this reporter any of the questions that began dogging him when asked about them, preferring to address the dream matchup that would have pitted two African-Americans leading the two largest political parties into an historic race for the presidency of the United States.

"It says that America does not care about color," Cain told your Douglass website reporter, "it ain't about color. It wasn't about color when Barack Obama got electd. This just puts an exclamation point: it ain't about color. It's going to be ideas and leadership, against ideas and leadership, and I'm going to win that battle."

For Cain, the battle ended abruptly at what would have been his national headquarters in Atlanta on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011.

A defiant Herman Cain suspended his faltering bid for the Republican presidential nomination, amid a drumbeat of sexual misconduct allegations against him, throwing his staunchly conservative supporters up for grabs with just one month to go before the lead-off caucuses in Iowa.

Cain condemned the accusations as "false and unproven" but said they had been hurtful to his family, particularly his wife, Gloria, and were drowning out his ability to deliver his message. His wife stood behind him on the stage, smiling and waving as the crowd chanted her name.

"So as of today, with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distractions and the continued hurt caused on me and my family," a tired-looking Cain told about 400 supporters.

Cain's announcement came five days after an Atlanta-area woman, Ginger White, claimed she and Cain had an affair for more than a decade, a claim that followed several allegations of sexual harassment against the Georgia businessman.

"Now, I have made many mistakes in life. Everybody has. I've made mistakes professionally, personally, as a candidate, in terms of how I run my campaign. And I take responsibility for the mistakes I've made, and I have been the very first to own up to any mistakes I've made," he said.

But Cain intoned: "I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me."


White's attorney said a in statement after the announcement that Cain had disparaged his client and should apologize. Cain had called her a "troubled Atlanta businesswoman" whom he had tried to help.

"We continue to encourage Mr. Cain to retract these statements and apologize for the way he has characterized these women in the media," Buckley said. Cain's campaign had no immediate response.

Cain's announcement provides a new twist in what has already been a volatile Republican race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has, so far, been the biggest beneficiary of Cain's precipitous slide. Polls show Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney atop the field in what is shaping up as a two-man race heading into early voting states.

But others, such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, will likely make a strong play for Cain's anti-establishment tea party backing as they look to rise as a viable alternative to Romney, whose conservative credentials are suspect in some GOP circles.

Cain said he would offer an endorsement, and his former rivals were quick to issue statements on Saturday praising his conservative ideals and grassroots appeal.

At a tea party rally in Staten Island, Gingrich praised Cain for bringing optimism and big ideas to the race.

"He had the courage to launch the 9-9-9 plan, which, whether you liked it or disliked it, was a big idea and started to elevate the debate toward big solutions and not the usual nitpicking, consultant-driven negativity," Gingrich said. He was referring to Cain's catchy but controversial plan to scrap the current tax code for a 9 percent tax on personal and corporate income as well as a new 9 percent national sales tax.

Some disappointed Cain supporters were clearly in search of a candidate on Saturday following his withdrawal.

"I don't know where I will go now," Janet Edwards, 52, said following Cain's announcement. "I guess I have to start looking at the rest of them."

Cain told supporters he planned to continue his efforts to influence Washington and announced "Plan B" - what he called a grassroots effort to return government to the people.

"I am not going to be silenced, and I am not going away. And therefore, as of today, Plan B," he said.

Plan B includes formation of, which he described as a grassroots effort to bring government back to the people. It would also continue to push his signature 9-9-9 plan.

Cain's announcement was a remarkable turnabout for a man that just weeks ago vaulted out of nowhere to the top of the GOP field, propelled by a populist, outsider appeal and his tax overhaul plan.

Saturday's event was a bizarre piece of political theater even for a campaign that has seemed to thrive on defying convention.

Cain marked the end of his bid at what was supposed to be the grand opening of his new campaign headquarters in Atlanta. Minutes before he took the stage to pull the plug, aides and supporters took to the podium to urge attendees to vote for Cain and travel to early voting states to rev up support for his bid.

"Join the Cain train," David McCleary, Cain's Georgia director, urged the audience.

Volunteers had been up through the night preparing the former flooring warehouse to open as the new hub of Cain's early-state outreach.

He marveled at rising from a childhood in Atlanta marked by segregated water fountains and poverty to what he called "the final four" of the presidential contest.

The former Godfather's Pizza chief executive, who has never held elective office, rose just weeks ago to lead the Republican race. But he fumbled policy questions, leaving some to wonder whether he was ready for the presidency. Then it was revealed at the end of October that the National Restaurant Association had paid settlements to two women who claimed Cain sexually harassed them while he was president of the organization.

A third woman told The Associated Press that Cain made inappropriate sexual advances but that she didn't file a complaint. A fourth woman also stepped forward to accuse Cain of groping her in a car in 1997.

Cain has denied wrongdoing in all cases and continued to do so Saturday.

Polls suggest his popularity had suffered. A Des Moines Register poll released Friday showed Cain's support plunging, with backing from 8 percent of Republican caucus goers in Iowa, compared with 23 percent a month ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this article